My reports

Smart Appliances and the Internet of Things: trends and impact for disabled and older consumers

There is opportunity for new and emerging IoT appliances and service solutions to be of real benefit to disabled people. In order to exploit the potential of the IoT to mediate the control of appliances it is crucial for smartphones and their associated apps to be accessible.

Service designs which add context of use to clusters of appliances can also provide real benefits. A smartphone knowing the quantity and freshness of produce in the fridge or the larder is helpful to sighted people but is even more so for a partially sighted or blind person. Some examples of user scenarios of clusters of devices can be found in [Appendix B].

Inclusive Design: manufacturing, design, and retail expert views

Uncovering how the values of Inclusive Design are being promoted by those involved in the design, build and retail of white goods and heating controls. To explore this we interviewed around 20 experts from manufacturing, design, academia and retail backgrounds.

Some barriers to producing Inclusively Designed products:

  1. Marketing – marketing of products is never inclusive
  2. Perception – accessible designs are not always inclusive.
  3. Cost –  inertia with inventory, parts management and tooling.
  4. Understanding – knowledge transfer is important
  5. Language – consumers ask about features of appliances not inclusive designed products

In-car safety technology Literature review and expert opinion

In-car safety technology is experiencing a period of rapid development. These developments are well placed to support older people driving for longer in later life.

The research questions were:

  1. What research exists about the usage of existing in-car safety technology and older drivers?
  2. To what extent have older drivers’ needs and abilities been considered in the design and development of in-car safety equipment?
  3. What are the opinions and attitudes of older people towards these systems?
  4. Is in-car safety technology solving safety problems for older people?
  5. What gaps exist in the research of in-car safety technology and older people?