Conference Theme: " Evolving Designs for our Future Selves". What will it cover?
To paraphrase the philosopher Thomas Hobbes “Life is harsh, brutish, and short”. Mankind is one of the few species that has earned the right to grow old, and has done so in large numbers. Each of us, if we are fortunate, will exercise that right. Yet the landscape of the new world we are entering as we age is continuously evolving. Technologies designed for mass consumption today generally favor the young and fail to embrace universal design principles, even though the designers recognize that eventually they may not be able to use the very product they’re designing. An enlightened and forward-looking view is needed that embraces the inevitability of old age and thoughtfully and methodically prepares for it, designing the tools and methods to increase health and happiness of older persons around the world. We are, indeed, as Roger Coleman asserted - designing for our future selves.
Creating effective designs cannot be done in a vacuum, and while traditional focus group approaches and laboratory studies offer good starting points, they provide little hard data on actual future usage patterns. For example, sensing technologies embedded in the products themselves and in the ambient environment to track physical movement of objects and people can inform designers about real-life usage patterns of the technologies they have created, and can help designers modify their products to potentially make them more enjoyable to use and more effective. However, the promise of sensing technologies must be balanced against the risk of lost privacy. These are among issues of high importance for designers of 21st century Gerontechnologies that will be discussed at the 11th World Conference of the International Society for Gerontechnology. Plan on attending and participating in the discussion.