After the good news that as Nijha’s partner, we won the SBIR innovation prize, we were excited to start work on a new product. Designing new products for inhabitants of care homes for the elderly is a great challenge. Many elderly face a lack of exercise movement. For Playnetic it is important to contribute to reducing this common problem and we will take every opportunity to do so.
Design with and for elderly people
Designing for the elderly is great. Designing with the elderly is even better! Who knows better than an elderly person what they like and what they can do and achieve still? To gain more insight into their preferences and physical limitations, we joined forces with Nijha to organize a number of test sessions in care homes. We invited the inhabitants to test our prototypes and to give us their unbridled opinions.
With all our human powered products, the user produces energy with body movements. The generated energy is then converted into lights, sounds or smells. The user has to maintain a certain movement long enough or quick enough to generate enough energy to ensure that this is converted into tangible results. For this reason it is very important for us to know what elderly people consider to be their own limitations. So we asked them to execute certain movements and put it to the test. If they generated enough energy, they were rewarded immediately with lights and sounds. Thanks to their determination, it turned into a colourful afternoon with lots of music.
‘’This is quite though, I will have to eat more beans’’ – inhabitant care home
From how the handles were held to the movement speeds and the response to the music, the sessions have provided valuable insight that will be used for further development of the human powered product range. The participants have surprised us with their enthusiasm, determination and perseverance. Their responses were truly heartwarming and this motivates us to develop more products that really make a difference in getting elderly people back in motion again.
‘’It was rewarding to see how my clients tested and interacted with the human powered products. I received a lot of positive feedback about the designs and designers. To me as therapist it was valuable to see the clients very accommodating and enthusiastic about this novelty. One of my clients asked me: ‘‘Will you pick me up again next time? I would love to try more!’’ – Annelies Sijben, pyscho motor skills therapist
The next step