Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ambient clock for elders

At Interact 2007, I discovered the work of Yann Riche and Wendy Mackay.
He presented the MarkerClock, an ambient clock for elders.
Pdf of the paper.

Seniors support one another through routines and through shared awareness. The MarkerClock facilitates the sharing and awareness of routines among elders. Built upon seniors’ stories of their daily life, it invites for reciprocal care behaviors.

The clock appears as ambient and non intrusive by giving symbolic graphical information on the user's activity. For instance, if Beatrice goes to the market in the morning, this information is coordinated with the clock and displayed graphically as "absent". Because her friend knows she is at the market, it appears as normal.

Examples of a) users’ codes, b) user’s motion trace

During user observations, an elder explained that she sends a signal by ringing 3 times the phone of her friend so that her friend can assess that she is all right. Users originally invented strategies, such as this code, to be aware of each other's lives. The design rationale integrates these findings into the augmented clock. It embeds active and passive communication and do so by simply detecting the user's motions in front of it, directly measuring the senior's activity.

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