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.