Older Adults

The Innovation and Design Lab focuses on new technologies as it relates to older adults.

IDL’s Research Approach:

The traditional approach has been to integrate technology into the lives of older adults while trying to make their lives easier and more accessible to everyday needs such as healthcare, food, family and information. IDL recognizes the importance of this and incorporates this with a new, more targeted approach to improve quality of life.

The purpose of IDL’s efforts is to ensure successful and healthy aging by engaging in a different research paradigm. By designing technologies to be more thought-provoking and more interactive to older adults, IDL develops solutions that also improve older adults’ cognitive ability and physical capacity. IDL uses health-related and other outcomes research to measure the relative success of aging in this new context.

For example, by forcing older adults to problem-solve, engage in physical activity, and make decisions while using everyday technologies, these seemingly transparent and mundane technology becomes both an easy way of completing the most common tasks as well as a tool for physical and mental “exercise.”

Examples of IDL’s approach vary highly:

  • Gaming approach
  • Variances in the use of equipment (e.g., engaging and disengaging)
  • Changes of location for everyday objects or processes
  • Changes in feedback (e.g., signals) that remind, spark new ideas or new ways of completing tasks
  • Virtual reality environments and simulations

These technologies apply to older adults living independently or in assisted living (or other communal) environments.

IDL partners with the Erickson School of Aging, Management and Policy at UMBC,http://erickson.umbc.edu/ to ensure quality research, education, and collaborations with faculty and students. IDL also partners with the Imaging and Digital Arts graduate and undergraduate Design programs at UMBC.