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Title: Actualizing agency through smart products: Smart materials and metaphors in support of the ageing population.
Authors: Spinelli, G
Micocci, M
Ajovalasit, M
Keywords: Smart products;Ageing;Smart materials;Metaphors;Agency
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: STS Italia
Citation: 6th STS Italia Conference Sociotechnical Environments, Trento Italy, (2016)
Abstract: Technological innovation is increasingly contributing to the development of Smart Products- SPs-, meant as autonomous devices augmented by sensing, processing and network capabilities. Given the reduced familiarity that the ageing population has with technological products, it is deemed appropriate to deploy SPs to enhance the experience with technologies of this population segment. Recent studies in interaction design demonstrate how analogies and metaphors, powerful learning tools for written, verbal and visual communication, can be physically embedded into products to improve the interaction with the users. Metaphors, that can trigger established knowledge domains, allow users to create bridges between old and new products making the product more intuitive. This study proposes that Smart Materials (SMs) may be more successful for embedding multi-sensorial metaphors into novel SPs, increasing the chance of adoption among ageing users. A novel device has been designed using four different SMs families in order to evaluate which design would be more intuitive among the users. 62 participants (N=31 under-60 years-old and N=31 over-60 years-old) assessed the 32 interactions designed. Findings reveal how age impacts the selection of the preferred interaction and how SMs can embed metaphors to support the users re-establishing their own subjective awareness, hence control, of the world around them.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Design Research Papers

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