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The presentation of my final concepts at AHO for the panel of sensors went simply ok. Main questionmarks were put at the relevancy for elders, a point which I had tried to make clear through underlining the new old`s many subgroups and subculutures, an approach I feel is very important when designing for the next generation of elderly, as opposed to today`s parameters focusing solely on aids and politically as well as ergonomically correct products.

Another key hypothesis of this thesis is the stronger focus on coming trends, cultural and technological, as imperative to include when designing services for the next generation of elderly.

A new presentation in the open forum setting will hopefully make this point clearer.

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I was lucky enough to get a meeting with Lavrans Løvlie, co-founder of service design firm Live|Work, to discuss my thesis concepts. During the meeting parallells were drawn to service concepts such as Timebank, made by Live|Work in a London innercity context.

Regarding my service concept, Membank, several points were made as to the privacy aspect of the service being a key issue, as well as the experience for the elderly users using a mobile phone (for which I make no designs) would have to be streamlined and intuitive.

I thank Lavrans for the meeting and the advice, something I will definately try to incorporate in my final presentation.

I met with Åse Kari Haugeto, project leader at Teknologirådet (Technology Council) of Norway, who has facilitated and organized a scenario workshop on the subject of the future elderly. Her report, “Start me up!”, describes three different scenarios for the govt use of technology to cover the needs of the future old.

The report confirms and sheds light on several of the types of technologies and problems related to these technologies, which I discuss in my thesis, and represent a few of the solutions I have consciously evaded for stated reasons; an strong focus on aid solutions, surveying technologies in homes and in/on the body, all of which are necessary and very likely to happen. I have expressed a desire to look at other concept solutions for the elderly, some that provide a different view on them as a demographic, and as an active, strong consumer group.

My meeting with her gave some feedback on my ideas and proposed concepts. She was very interested in my take on the future old, and some of the evolving trends I’ve identified as relevant. Of the concepts I showed her, a few seemed to provoke her interest stronger than others; such as the virtual home, the blogger newspaper and a memory sharing mobile service.

Mostly we discussed the emerging prosumer culture, and whether certain groups of people among the future old are libertarians, shy or offended by the overkill development and implementation of surveillance technological features in new services and devices. No hard conclusion is possible to reach here; some are and some aren’t; some value personal freedom more than security, some define security in different ways, and some tend to accept willingly the extra surveillance cameras in the city, in order to feel safer.

It’s another question completely when the surveillance becomes so imposing as to be on your body and in your on home. I think those with “libertarian” tendencies will get those reenforced substantially, which is the basis for one of my concepts, the RFID blocker apparel.

During the meeting we also discussed the possible scenario that elderly will become future prosumers, as a way to feel more appreciated, have a routine, and to enhance their feeling of independence. This is the basis for the “GoggleNewsPaper” concept, a newspaper written by elderbloggers, printed for elderly internet-shy newsreaders. This concept in particular was appreciated by Ms. Haugeto as a good idea.

As a conclusion, I will continue to iterate on the three chosen targets; the libertarian, the prosumer, and the nostalgic elder. In particular, the GoogleNewspaper will definately become a concept proposal to finalize, along with the RFID blocker apparel and the memory sharing mobile service; a location specific service appealing to elderly online social target.

May 2008
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