Age & Ability Lab
Research Associate: Ross Atkin
Research Partner: RLSB (Royal London Society for Blind People)
Memory is an important navigational resource for people with sight loss who rely on having predictability in the urban environment. However, temporary obstructions and diversions such as streetworks can easily disrupt a person’s mental map and leave them disorientated. This project with the Royal London Society for Blind People, proposes an accessible new system of pedestrian signs and barriers containing both physical and digital elements.
Research included a survey of 100 streetworks sites across London, in situ research with people with visual impairments and shadowing of a streetworks installation crew. Initial design concepts were tested with visually impaired people and reviewed by Transport for London. In a second round of testing, 85 per cent of participants found the physical parts of the new system more useful than existing designs. These physical changes comprise a new pedestrian sign and retrofit tactile and graphic markings on the barriers. A digital application for smartphones allows operatives to log details of streetworks when they set up equipment. This can then provide audio descriptions of the works to passers by.
Age & Ability Lab / Research Associate: Ross Atkin / Research Partner: Stannah
Maintaining mobility in the home becomes more important as we get older, especially the challenge of moving between floors when stairs become too difficult to use. However, older people constitute a vast and varied group. People in their late 60s and early 70s – the boomer generation – can differ in their attitudes and abilities to those aged in their 80s. This project, with stairlift manufacturer Stannah, created a portrait of ageing in the home to explore the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s stairlift customers.
Research was conducted with two cohorts of older people. Current customers described the reality of living every day with a stairlift and baby boomers aged 67 to 73, who were not stairlift users, helped to articulate future expectations. By embedding smart technology in the stairlift, the study explored how it could function as a node in the network of care around its owner. This serves two purposes: friends and family are reassured that the person is mobile in their home; and older people, especially baby boomers, can minimise the demands they place on those around them. Scenarios were developed to demonstrate the user benefits of these technology systems.
A case study of the development of a new digital instrument as part of the Enabling Technology project by the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in partnership with BT and Scope. See the full video of Lyn's composition at vimeo.com/74113607
MessSearch is a combination of hardware and software that makes your physical desktop searchable like your digital one. It has two modes a SEARCH MODE for locating objects that are already in the database using tag words and a TAG MODE for associating new tag words to objects. This video shows it in action.
MessSearch is part of the Entropy Project, an experimental design project conducted by Ross Atkin as part of the IDE course at the Royal College of Art.
A case study of the development of a new enabling device for people with visual impairments as part of the Enabling Technology project by the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in partnership with BT and Scope.