Age Labs

Age Labs research the particular design needs of older people, as well as developing aids so that young researchers can feel what it’s like. We’ve bundled together some brilliant examples in one post here.
In the UK, SiDE’s Transport team monitor older driver behaviour in a lab, using sensors like eye-tracking goggles and heart-rate monitors. A modified Peugeot iOn can monitor drivers’ concentration, stress levels and driving habits. The objective is new technology that will instil confidence in drivers over 65 and keep them safely on the road for longer.
One example is a tailored SatNav that takes the least stressful, safest route for the driver, rather than the fastest. It avoids major roads and right turns, and shows pictures of key landmarks along the way to help drivers keep track of where they are.
In the USA, the MIT Age Lab has developed a suit – AGNES that when worn by a researcher or designer, has been calibrated to approximate the motor and visual skills, flexibility, dexterity and strength of a person in their mid-70s.

MIT Age Lab have also evaluated driving technologies to assess what works for older drivers.

Age-friendly environments programme

WHOLogoLaunched in 2012, The World Health Organisation’s age-friendly environments programme is an international effort to address the environmental and social factors that contribute to active and healthy ageing.
More 40 cities from across the world have signed the ‘Dublin Declaration’ expressing their commitment to creating age-friendly cities which address the needs of older people in respect to: the built environment, transport, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication, and community support and health services.
The initiative was prompted by the fact that in 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities. Yet our urban landscapes are often not very age-friendly – they lack spaces to sit, regular public toilets, accessible public transport and more.
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