Exploring the influence of monitoring systems on the everyday life of elderly

Throughout the Bachelor and Master of Industrial Design, I got used to designing for the (near) future, but researching future everyday life was something new for me. The goal of this elective for our group was to study one core paper, in which a monitoring system for elderly was presented. After having studied this paper critically, we addressed the issues around autonomy and privacy such a monitoring system has. 

Our group designed a research product that featured Mister the Owl, which is very popular for a lot of Dutch adults. The research product would indicate whenever you needed to go to bed, by forcefully turning off the lights in the living room. Mister the Owl would gradually move out of its treetrunk while doing so. The research product evoked a discussion on the participants’ anticipated experience with gerontechnological innovations in general and how these might affect their perceived autonomy.

It was very challenging, yet interesting, to have a different approach on researching the future everyday. This course taught me that instead of gaining knowledge on the users’ views and experiences of the deployed design or the design itself, you can gain more in depth insights into the social nature of users with respect to the future.

Research product and analysis