SALT: Designing Scalable Assistive Technologies and Services

Currently, health and social care institutions struggle to meet the demands of the ageing population due to insufficient capacity and resources. The potential of new technology to assist older people and promote independent healthy living is huge. However, it is hindered by issues relating to, for example, cost, lack of technological skills among the older population, and difficulties in making people aware of what is available. This project aims to address some of these challenges and investigate opportunities for creating and promoting scalable assistive technology within economic and business models. It brings together multidisciplinary academics, businesses, health and social care professionals, third sector organisations and user representatives, as well as collaborating closely with SiDE.

The SALT project is split into seven distinct but interrelated work packages, two of which are managed by researchers within the Digital Interaction group. Work package 4, or “User Uptake”, focuses on the attitudes of older people towards assistive technology, providing a context within which the potential growth and usability of assistive technology can be maximised. Researchers will conduct interviews to assess the extent to which older people currently use or do not use available assistive technology, and the perception of how much or little it is needed among its intended users. Work package 5, or “User-Centred Design”, applies the findings of work package 4 and other branches of the project during design workshops for new assistive technology, particularly focusing on digital technology. It will use a range of experience-centred design techniques to create working prototypes in order to assess which participatory design methods are most appropriate in the development of assistive technology.

Press release: North East leads the way in planning for an ageing population

Date: Mar 2011 – Feb 2014

Funding: TSB: £ 1,083,831

Researchers: Feng Li – Business School (PI), Patrick Olivier, Peter Wright (CIs). Katie Brittain – IHS, Louise Robinson – IHS/IAH, Tracy Finch – IHS, Lynne Corner – IAH, Peter Gore – IAH, Rob Wilson – Business School.

Collaborators:  RTC North, Critical Data Ltd, DocoboLtd, ADL SmartcareLtd, Years Ahead, CybermoorServices Ltd, Age Concern Newcastle, Manus Neurodynamica Ltd, Limbs Alive Ltd, IntraHealthLtd.