Please view the information about the MIT Agelab, design process, and F.A.Q page document prior to this to fully understand the whole design process.
The Pen-Cell takes technology to an innovative level by creating a platform that eases communication with others. It utilizes basic text and voice technology, allowing you to write in information and see sound. This design enhances communication within any environment, loud or quiet, allowing for private and quiet conversations (Imagine being able to have a silent conversation in a restaurant without interrupting those around you). It is also an ideal solution for the hearing-impaired who depend on visual cues to communicate. More importantly, the Pen-Cell serves as a memory aid. With today's technology, people become reliant on their devices to store information. Once that device is gone, it is difficult to recall particular pieces of information. Through the act of repetitively writing and then seeing a name and number, a user acquires a recollection of the information. The design of the Pen-Cell is ergonomically comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, fun and reliable.
Research Phase I
The first four weeks consisted of an immense submersion of research to identify and understand the lifestyle of the target audience, 50+. Five major categories (transportation, the healthy home, social communications, the work space, health and fitness) were assembled together for teams of people to explore, research, and present to the rest of the group. Shown is the boards my team created to represent ?Social Communications?. Research consisted of going through mountains of books, newspaper articles, periodicals, interviews, meetings, lectures, surveys, magazines, and also the human experience, trying out daily activities while giving ourselves handicaps, such as wearing winter gloves. This portion of the presentation served as a huge foundation for everyone on the team to gain more knowledge of what life was and will be like in the future for the actively aging population.
From the research, each individual presented a few problems within their categories. Having each individual create a few problem statements added up to about 50 diverse problems. Seeing all of these problems gave everyone an idea of what the possibilities were and how broad this project was. (4 of 7 shown)
1. Baby boomers are not educated early enough about exercise and nutrition until it is too late. As the baby boomers age, they really don?t care about their health until something actually occurs. In truth people should be educated well about what they need to do early, like in their 30?s or 40?s, in order to prevent anything from happening.
2. Technology has eased people?s life by so much in that now boredom has become an issue. This has also created less activity or exercise, thus creating weakness and laziness. So much technology has been made to replace the chores of human beings in that they do not have much to do. What some people don?t realize is that not having the opportunity to do things the good old-fashioned way is most likely good for one that ages.
3. Technology has brought isolation into family households. As people age the importance of being socially active is very important. Today?s technology has created computers and PDA?s for an individual. These devices might have increased social activity with people that we actually don?t see, but it has decreased the amount of time that one speaks to an individual that is present.
4. Technology has made people rely less on our memory, therefore creating less brain stimulation and activity. An example would be in PDA?s or cell phones. Before people had cell phones, most numbers would be remembered by heart, or written down. Even schedules. Today with these gizmos people depend less on their brain to remember these things and rather rely on little computer chips. Without their little gizmos people don?t know their friends numbers or in some cases don?t remember what plans they have for the next day.