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Title: Objects of Desire and of Disgust: Analysis and Design of Assistive Technologies
Authors: Spinelli, G
Massimo, M
Martin, W
Keywords: Assistive Technologies;Older Adults;Design for Desire
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Design in Health: proceedings from Design4Health 2018, in press
Abstract: Following the principle of ‘one-size-fits-all’, patients of different ages and socio-cultural backgrounds are often supplied with similar aids with little consideration for their personal preferences and socio-emotional needs. Assistive Technologies (ATs), specialist products for those with long and short-term conditions, are often being abandoned because of people’s perception of themselves as disabled (Hocking 1999) and their fear of being stigmatised (Bright and Coventry 2013). A pilot study was conducted to explore how ATs may become ‘Objects of desire’ through design interventions, affording a more positive sense of self. This in return may increase the rate of adoption of ATs in everyday life. ATs are often invested by more positive personal meaning when supporting independent living. However, the ATs market is very underdeveloped, and limits individual choice. While older adults are resigned to use available products that, at best, match functionalities in order to compensate for their occurring physical deficiencies, they express a wish for personalised, elegant, discreet and at times bold artefacts matching their lifestyle and providing opportunities for self-expression. This study provides insights into the design language of medicalised products and the need to rethink the current approach.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Clinical Sciences Embargoed Research Papers

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