New technologies are increasingly being used by older adults. Smartphones, tablets and apps are now part of the elderly’s vocabulary. But what impact do these technologies have on the daily life of older adults?
To find out, Fraunhofer AICOS’ Human-Centered Design researchers implemented a longitudinal study to get insights about the challenges and impact of mobile technology on older adults’ daily routines. The study includes people who already own a smartphone and people who do not.
This study will enable to depict how older adults experience the integration of technology in their everyday lives. Researchers will have access to real world data of technology use with the aim of designing interfaces for apps that overcome the barriers that these technologies bring with them.
Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS (located in Porto, in the UPTEC Building) develops research activities focused on digital technology applied to health, active aging and well-being. Examples of projects that are part of our portfolio:
Decentralized dermatology screening — mobile technology for healthcare professionals, validated as a monitoring or referral solution for skin lesions;
Decentralized Ophthalmology Screening — a smartphone-based portable optical device that automatically captures retinal images with intelligent guidance during acquisition and computer-assisted diagnostics integrated into the device;
Automatic, low-cost mobile microscopy — a low-cost, automatic alternative to conventional microscopes, adapted to effectively support microscopy-based diagnostics in areas with limited access to health services;
Advanced inertial sensor data processing for human activity recognition and motion characterization — applied to senior exergames, smartphone or tablet-based home physiotherapy programs, and inertial sensors, among others.
Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, in developing applied research, is directly involved in digital transformation. Because we are aligned with international recommendations that involve all stakeholders in the design of technology-based solutions and services, COLABORAR is promoting the participation of clinicians. Therefore, we are addressing an invitation to health professionals with a possible interest in influencing health innovation to join a panel of clinical specialists. This panel will be in a privileged position to convey to researchers health needs, priorities and preferences. Through this initiative, healthcare professionals will learn about the research topics we are working on and will be able to spark future topics for our team to explore. We recommend that interested parties send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to have achieved the milestone of 3000 user research and testing sessions!
In the last 7 and a half years, COLABORAR supported 3000 user research activities. Requirements gathering, user interviews, diary studies, prototype testing, card sorting, focus groups, in-person usability studies, surveys and pilot studies are the activities carried out.
The COLABORAR team could not be more glad. We learned many things during this time regarding the recruitment of people for research and testing, as well as about carrying research with users. For the next years, we expect to double this milestone!
Psychologists often collect and analyse large amounts of data from their patients in their clinical practice. At Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, an engineering student is developing a mobile app to support psychologists in their job.
Sixty COLABORAR volunteers made an important contribution to science by taking part in a session with a psychologist. The psychologist, also a volunteer, applied some psychology methods and instruments to evaluate each person.
The study received approval from an independent ethics committee. In the end of the study, participants will receive an individualized report provided by the psychologist. Many thanks to all participants for being so kind to participate in research! Your help adds value to technology, since real data are used in its development.
COLABORAR now provides its services to companies, start-ups and research centres. Access to real users of a “Living Lab” based in Porto is at the centre of the service.
Our 7 years’ experience in recruiting research participants along with the experience of the Human-Centred Design team in conducting ethnographic studies, usability testing, feasibility studies and healh technology assessment will add value to mobile apps and digital devices.
Compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and research ethics are included in our services. Our team manages the feedback from the users so that the company can improve the technology under development prior to market entry.
A new pilot study led by researchers at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS has just began, in Porto.
GoLivePhone is a mobile app that acts as a real companion for older people. GoliveClip is a wearable that captures body movements and communicates with the GoLivePhone app. After several lab tests conducted at Fraunhofer AICOS, researchers want to get real world data about the use of these technologies. This study will enable researchers to understand the role of technology in assisting older people in their daily routines, for example, in terms of maintaining social relationship and helping them monitoring their physical activity.
The first group of participants from the user network COLABORAR initiated the study, by answearing questionnaires and performing some motor-physical tests. Then, they will participate in a workshop to get acquainted with the app and the wearable that then they will get home.
The study will run during a year and will bring important information about the use of technology by older people in the real world.
We share some main activities and milestones of the year that has just finished. We send a thank you message to each volunteer in the network without whom we could not make our work, to Fraunhofer AICOS’ researchers, including the ones of the Human-Centred Design group who challenge COLABORAR with requests for increasingly ambitious activities and for the high standards of good practices on research with older adults.
It is already on December 12 that you can discover how older adults and technology are related.
Organized by COLABORAR, this will be an event open to older adults from the city of Porto to discover technology developed with and for older adults. Some of our latest projects related to innovations in m-health, active ageing, wellbeing and literacy will be showcased. User research and testing methodologies will be hilighted as an essential part of research and development. Researchers will be answering all questions posed by our visitors.
Don’t miss this opportunity! Registration is free, but limited to available spots. Register through: 220430347.
What better way to celebrate the anniversary than a social event? Researchers from the Human-Centered Design and volunteers gathered at the Auditorium to commemorate the 7th anniversary and chat about technology. We showcased some of Fraunhofer AICOS’ projects on mobile health and wellbeing and we also presented a project in the area of education and literacy for children. We wanted to show the importance of involving users in our work to develop solutions for diverse societal challenges. Most importantly, we wanted to share our joy in celebrating the project anniversary.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many hundreds of dedicated older adults who have participated over the years: they have made over 2800 research sessions possible and have been irreplaceable in making the project what it is today! Cheers to the next 7 years!
We will be marking the 7th milestone anniversary of COLABORAR on November 26.
This celebration will be held at the Fraunhofer AICOS’ Auditorium. This year we planned a celebratory event full of interaction moments between researchers and volunteers, but we will keep specific details under wraps.
For now, we only want to share with you the biggest achievements: more than 2800 research sessions with volunteers, 1100 participants and 70 projects supported. We are proud and, above all, grateful to every volunteer who contributed to research and innovation on technology to Propose Futures and Impact Lives of older adults.
Stay tuned for more news!
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