In November 2011 Fraunhofer AICOS started the project User’s Network, with the objective of aggregating a number of institutions that can provide AICOS with access to senior users, in order to test our interfaces and technological solutions. At the moment, already 6 institutions agreed to be part of this network, which means access to circa 120 senior users. Outside Fraunhofer AICOS, the project is also called “Colaborar”, so that senior institutions can easily understand what the initiative is about and engage with it.
Being the main users of AICOS development scope, it’s fundamental that researchers can test their solutions with older adults, allowing them to get very important feedback on their work. Also, permanent collaboration with seniors trough the constitution of a solid network of users will allow Fraunhofer AICOS to present itself as an independent partner for future projects, as the research center will be able to cover all main phases of a user-centered design process: analysis, design, evaluation and implementation.
Therefore, the results of this project will bring great benefits to other ongoing and future projects, as well as AICOS general activities. In fact, AICOS external project S4S already benefited from the User’s Network to carry on some tests.
Silvia Rêgo, who is working on the User’s Network project, says that institutions and senior users have been very open for this type of cooperation and understand the benefits of participating in our research. “When these institutions realize that we are creating technology that will help older adults and improve their quality of live, they usually show interest in integrating the Network. Also, most senior users are always looking forward for our visits and they are much more interested in interacting with technology than it’s commonly thought. They feel useful and show a great interest in helping us developing technological solutions they can use”.
The main goal was to aggregate 5 institutions in the network, which was already achieved. At this moment, the User’s Network includes Senior Universities, Adult Day-Care Centers and Living Centers. These are some institutions who agreed to participate in the project:
- Atlas – Cooperativa Cultural (Intercultural University for Seniors)
- Universidade Sénior Contemporânea (Contemporary Senior University)
- Centro de Convívio da Gruta de Arca D’Água (Gruta de Arca D’Água Living Center)
It’s particularly important that the Network aggregates different types of institutions, as they provide AICOS with access to different senior users’ profiles; of different age groups and with different needs in what concerns to the use of technology in their daily life.
The project will run until the end of April 2012, with the possibility of being extended beyond that date.
Source: 20.04.2012, Fraunhofer Portugal