Is your grandma addicted to her Smart Phone?

We all know that aging society is a global trend today. In Europe, it is known as the greying of Europe, a demographic phenomenon characterized by a decrease in fertility, a decrease in mortality rate, and a higher life expectancy among European populations. Many developing countries are also into the aging society. Take China as an example. The number of citizens above 65-years old is 175 million in 2010, about 12.57% of the total population, which is catching up the footsteps of Netherlands’ 16.20% in 2012. And it is foreseeable this number will keep growing in this century. One of the major problems followed with global trend is that, due to the continuous increase in life expectancy and the decreasing number of children, an increasing number of people will have to rely on increasingly expensive health care paid by a decreasing number of people. Thus, the medical treatment, health care service or other services for the aging population based on ICT system will no longer a hypothesis. Instead, it will become a trend in our living environment. Many business opportunities will emerge along with it.

According to many cases study of intelligent system and service design, there are numerous challenges and barriers for elderly users in accepting and even fully using them. It is difficulty for elderly users to grasp the method of using a new device. Meanwhile, their willingness of using intelligent product of services is not so strong, as they prefer to stick to their routines lifestyle.

Researches about Technology acceptance have been done by many researchers from different disciplines in the past 50 years.  Most of them tackled this Challenge with the process that individuals go through to adopt a technology or innovation. Technology driven innovations, especially information technology, are emerge drastically in the recent years, which makes understanding why and how people perceive and learning technology a critical and pressing issue to intelligent product service system design.

Research about technology acceptance should focus not just on adoption and implementation of an information technology. It is meaningful to understand the characters of the contexts which individuals to perceive, understand and learn technology. Also the circumstance, social interaction and communication play very important roles in this research. The learning process of technology could be a stressful activity for the elderly people. So by doing research with elderly people together to tackle the technology acceptance challenge, we can explore the story behind the interaction between technology and their lifestyle.

By tackling the technology acceptance of elderly people from social influence prospective, we have run the first round research by exploring the technology acceptance with playful interaction. One PDEng student Barbara Wajda  carried out the research for around half year. A set-cards has been designed and tested for helping elderly learn how to using computer. We got some very positive feedbacks from elderly people and industry partners. So this proposal continues the research and hopefully there will be more insights be summarized and contribute to designing intelligent product service system for the elderly people.

Designing M-Health Product Service Systems for Chinese Seniors

China is now ageing at the second fastest rate in the world, after Japan. Twenty-six Chinese provinces and cities have entered into aged society status, and will become more so in the foreseeable future. The evidence shows that the number of ageing people will peak around 2050 at about 480 million, about one in three people.

An ageing urban population will increase and complicate social and economic challenges. Seniors’ growing demands on medical care services, which are relied on social security systems to a large extent, will incur mega financial burdens to local government. Taking Shanghai, the most aged metropolis in China, as an example, the deficit in social security is mainly supported by increasing fiscal expenditures, a situation that will likely worsen over time. On the other hand, family economic pressure will also be aggravated as well due to the prevalent 4-2-1 (a couple supports four aged parents and one child) family structure in Chinese cities. What is more, hospitals would have to confront the enormous shortage of medical facilities as well as healthcare workers and may fatigue tackling with the tough situation at that time.

To respond to these challenges effectively beyond policy reforms, we need to seek innovative and viable ways to strengthen seniors’ connection with public medical treatment and open more paths for them to conquer chronic disease in less cost but more obliging way. In this context, mobile health, which is defined as the emerging mobile communications and network technologies for healthcare, presents an interesting opportunity space. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that mobile communication has the potential to offer effective means of bringing healthcare services to developing countries like China. Thanks to the low-cost handsets and the penetration of mobile network, the amount of mobile phone users in China has approached to 1.3 billion so far, equivalent to over 90 percent of total, whereby only 29 percent users do not necessarily utilize mobile networks to deal with daily basis. Which implies the great opportunity for mobile technology supporting health service delivery on a massive scale.

While the prospect of mobile health services has been detected obviously, there are numerous challenges and barriers for aging generation in adopting and fully using them. For instance, it is costly for elderly to grasp the method of using new devices. Also, their willingness of using mobile health services is not so strong, as they prefer keeping to their routines to changing lifestyle. Designers could thus play key roles in detecting and removing these barriers, and this is where our project lying in. We will render you great opportunities to interrogate the essential issues behind aging generation, and then come up with possible innovative solutions and strategies. However, the development of this project is based on your insight.

Play and The City

City municipalities and governments worldwide embark on smart city policies, together with tech businesses and knowledge institutions. They deploy digital technologies and big data to optimize services like traffic, energy, environment, governance and health. Also bottom-up smart citizen initiatives in many cities blossom, consisting of networked people who engage in issues like neighborhood livability, community building, energy provisioning, sharing resources and measuring and generating environmental data. Often they employ sensor technologies, use open data or utilize digital media to organize themselves around a common issue. Examples are the ‘games for change’ initiative (

Founded in 2004, Games for Change facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. An example game is SimCityEDU. Awareness is central in this game where you can solve your city’s pollution problems while growing the economy in this mission-based simulation game

Persuasive game design

Playing is learning. As we play, we immerse ourselves in alternate realities and take on different roles. In this safe and friendly environment we learn to operate with given or negotiated alternative rules, create elaborate what-if scenarios and test out hypotheses. By making decisions in someone else’s shoes, getting moved through engaging stories, learning about the underlying systems and forming optimal game strategies, the play activity can become impactful. We reflect on our worldview and can be ‘persuaded’ into attitudes and behavior that improves our quality of life.

Catchy Clutter

People play. Play has an important function in training social, cognitive and physical development. It is embedded deeply into our nature.

In the Vision of PI one of the direction in designing for play is to look for little triggers for playful behavior. A boring meeting and a pen make us doodle. A loose thread on a shirt irresistibly makes us fiddle with it. Play occurs spontaneous. One moment of play triggers the development of defining play, which leads to negotiating rules and goals. For children, a lumber- room (“rommelzolder”) in this perspective is a dream environment. The world around them turns into a playground, providing means and context. The clutter around them provides opportunities to use in play. The objects in the do illicit directions for play, because of form, texture, or physical properties yet they do not define the goals or rules of play. This makes the lumber-room a good example of an environment for open-ended play.

Designers on the other hand want control. They want to know, or better decide, what their users can and cannot do. That is a good attitude when you design something for strict functionality, like a car, a power tool, and a kitchen appliance. But when it comes to play, real fun starts when you cross the lines of control. In this project, we want to create a metaphorical interactive lumber-room. The mess, the unpredictability in this case is not in the diversity of physical objects but in the diversity of interactions.

Persuasive Interactions – Games and Stories

Good design often engenders short term behavior change, making people curious for a product or service and stimulating them to interact with it. But these effects are only transient. How do you instill long term attitude change and have people actually think and feel differently about a product, themselves or even the world? This project is about designing products, systems and services that change the way a person looks at the world. Through this you will learn how to design for: curiosity, to get people interested; fun, to keep them engaged; and persuasion, a twist to make them change their opinion on a certain matter.

Don’t Drive / the Sports Car

Long distance driving is a stressful activity for the human body. It is simply not made to be in a static position for longer periods. Every car producing company tries to improve this situation by providing better seats, better suspension, and other comfort enhancing facilities. So far, these focus on softening the pain, but leave the fundamental issue untouched: the lack of active movement.

Toyota believes, that with the introduction of self- driving cars, a fundamental change is possible. And Google has convinced the world that creating such a car is no longer science fiction. Other traditional automobile makers and suppliers of sensor-based solutions have developed new lines of self-driving technologies. In the mean time, a number of organizations, including automotive and high-tech companies have been focused on the potential for using connected-vehicle communication technologies for collision avoidance and traffic management. More research and development is focusing on the convergence of sensor-based technologies and connected-vehicle communications to enable truly autonomous vehicles. Convergence will bring enhanced mobility and safety and reduced environmental impacts [1]. All these developments make that these self–driving cars are about to become available for people like you and me.

Playful Learning Toolkits for Children

Mitch Resnick, the famous director of the LifeLong learning Lab of MIT, has always promoted learning through doing, which can be done with building sets such as MindStorms, LittleBits and Raspberry Pi. However, new toolkits are required for teaching young children to develop skills, such as digital literacy. Such toolkits should combine learning about design thinking and digital fabrication. Providing simple building blocks, that allow quick explorations, and different materials for expression are some of the starting requirements for such a toolkit. Also providing a simple design process that can be easily followed by children.

Understanding of technology /digital literacy is part of 21st century skills, which will need to be included in the curriculum of the near future: this is an educational innovation opportunity!

NB: The project is NOT about teaching children about programming and maths, it is about teaching children the value of technology in society!


To be honest, this project is born out of frustration. We have so many good projects to show to the world, but we rarely do outside the exhibition days. We need to show to a big audience what ID students are capable of doing. CineKid has already agreed to be a client, and provides a budget. You can also think of the DDW, Glow, a permanent exhibition at Playful Interactions, a design competition you would like to take part in.

Adap-tive/able Music

This project follows in the footsteps of the ORFF project where children were the target group for designing new musical instruments. ‘Easy to learn hard to master’ was the key term in that project. It led to a few very nice controllers [1,2]. The key term for this new project could be ‘adaptive* music making’ which is also an old interest of Playful Interactions.

The main stakeholder in this project is STEIM, an institution specialized in the making of musical instruments in Amsterdam. STEIM was founded as an institute for artists. Artists could come with their ideas for musical instruments to STEIM and STEIM would help them to actually make them. Gradually their interest shifted to education and special interest groups which
makes them an interesting partner for ID.

At the moment STEIM works together with the van Boeijen clinic in a concrete project to make 50 new (adaptable) instruments but STEIM is also looking at other special interest groups to implement their instrumental knowledge. Key sentences are:

• An instrument is fun
• Relieving (emotional) stress
• Empower this people.
• Aid physical movement / therapy

Your instrument will be designed for a particular interest group. In general we target at Physical and mentally impaired people that are institutionalized or receive other intensive care:

• Genetic cases like down syndrome
• Handicapped as a result of accident or stroke.
• Dementia
• Your own proposal

Interesting results can be showcased. There are contacts with ‘Join the Beat’, Discovery festival, cinekid.