The problem space we’re interested in exploring is occupied by the aging population, especially those in unassisted living arrangements. We aim to build something to impact and hopefully improve their quality of life. Quality of life means different things to different people and in this context could range from enabling them to do their daily activities or create a general sense of satisfaction.
Issues commonly faced by this segment of society include feelings of loneliness or isolation, difficulty in expanding the ever-shrinking social network, fading memories that make simple daily tasks (e.g. taking medication) considerably challenging, loss of purpose in life, in addition to decline in mobility.
We have not narrowed down on what the details of our solutions will look like but aim to design a tangible user interface in the form of a ‘game’, that can be spread out on the ground. Our target population is uncomfortable (sometimes lacking the dexterity) to use smartphones and tablets. So, such a game will tap into output signals such as lights and sound which are easily understood and promote a bit of physical movement, potentially have a social aspect (e.g. old people in a local context could play the game together in the physical space), and challenge the minds of the old in a gentle but intellectually provoking way to keep them sharp.
We are inspired by Mahjongg and its complexity that enables old minds to stay healthy and active. Instead of checkers though, we are considering using artifacts from the people’s lifetime e.g. ‘arrange these events in chronological order’, the events being landmark points in time such as World War II, a marriage etc. Perhaps the children could set the game up for their parents or grandparents. The idea is to make the game as personal as possible and make their rich past a part of their present.