Design For Ageing Well

Improving quality of life for the ageing population using a technology enabled garment system

Back to all projects Design For Ageing Well

The design for ageing well project will focus on bringing emerging wearable technologies to active members of older age groups who do not suffer from restrictive medical conditions. The proposal will address “Ageing well across the lifecourses: autonomy and independence” with a multi-disciplinary team incorporating researchers from technical textiles, wearable electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and social and care sectors, with active participation from the users.

Project Summary

The design for ageing well project will focus on bringing emerging wearable technologies to active members of older age groups who do not suffer from restrictive medical conditions. The proposal will address “Ageing well across the lifecourses: autonomy and independence” with a multi-disciplinary team incorporating researchers from technical textiles, wearable electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and social and care sectors, with active participation from the users.

Investigator(s)

Jane McCann, University of Wales Newport

Team

  • Stephen Benton, University of Westminster
  • Tracey Williamson, University of Salford
  • Julia Ryan, University of Salford
  • Jennifer Bougourd, University of Wales Newport
  • Vikki Haffenden, University of Brighton
  • Christopher Nugent, Ulster University

Contact details

Jane McCann

Background

We are at the beginning of a new industrial revolution with the merging of technical textiles, wearable electronics and ICT. Such advances should be utilised to promote health and wellbeing but may not be readily accepted by some older users due to badly designed user-interfaces that have small controls or displays that may prevent someone with a minor impairment from using them effectively. Little has been done to address physical and cognitive limitations when developing these new products and services to ensure that they are appropriate to real-world needs.

Aims/objectives

  • Develop a user-centred design process, not common practice in clothing design, to inform a design of a functional clothing layering system, with integrated wearable technologies. This will inform designers and technologists in the technical and style requirements for the active ageing for engagement in healthy exercise, within a range of conditions and environments.

  • Introduce the attribute of smart textiles in garment design, that is becoming increasingly sophisticated in, and targeted to, the areas of performance sport and corporate wear, but has not been adapted and designed in appropriate format, and in terms of sizing, and shape, for the benefit of enhancing the everyday life of older users.

  • Address the lack of understanding of the actual and potential role of mobile/wearable technological advances in everyday lives of older people as developments have often failed to address their aspirations. To date monitoring devices have been developed for 'ill people' with little aesthetic appeal and with data feedback that may be difficult for the wearer to read and understand.

  • Consider the psychological impact of clothing which is a major contributor to how people define and perceive themselves and is a necessary part of their everyday lives. Transient fashion ranges are not generally geared to the physiological demands of the changing older body, resulting in clothing that is often uncomfortable due to inappropriate fit, styling, proportion and weight and details such as closures.

Design

The research is interdisciplinary in focus so the work in the individual work packages are interdependent so should not be seen as a sequential list with encouragement for cross-disciplinary working between the Behavioural, Design and Technology aspects.

  • To engage in collaborative design practice to produce an innovative garment layering system that enhances the comfort and well being and promotes healthy exercise for active ageing through the application of 3D body scanning, innovative smart textiles with embedded technology and novel garment engineering techniques.
  • To evaluate the understanding, acceptance and impact of the technology enabled garment system using in situ assessment of prototypes.
  • To enhance autonomy and independence for the active ageing by identifying and addressing key cultural, social and behavioural limitations of their everyday lives using the technology enabled garment. By identifying limitations it may be possible to maximise potential and choice. This will enhance our understanding of the theory of the dynamics of active ageing in a way that is unique and up until now has not been possible.
  • To develop technology that can be incorporated into the garment layering system to allow acquisition, processing, storage, interpretation and feedback of information from and to the user, in their environment.
  • To identify a new dynamic in potential strategies for the introduction and eventual launch of the garment system, and its attributes in terms of functionality and usability to the intended audience. How will the users understand what is available, how it works and where to find it?

Policy implications

The Design for Ageing Well project will have a range of policy impacts which are directly related to the interdisciplinary focus of the programme. The key is not only the impact of the individual work packages but the additive effect of these through close collaboration.

  • Size and fit focussed BS/Size UK application of size UK data sets for 60 -75 age group.
  • User-centred design for clothing as 'product'
  • New breed of designer researcher/shared language between technology, design and social aspects.
  • Encouraging healthy exercise and social engagement for older community)
  • Linking wearer with smart home/smart environment
  • Introducing attributes of smart textiles and novel manufacturing methods to everyday wear.
  • Promoting value added, less transient (and therefore more sustainable) clothing design
  • Addressing the need for functional activewear for 60 -75 age group.
  • Devising strategies for appropriate routes to market for hybrid products for new consumer majority

Links

University of Wales Newport website

Project publications

Publication list

All 35 NDA project publication lists

 

News & Events

All newsAll events

Other projects like this one

(current tags: Technology)
  • Working LateStrategies to enhance productive and healthy environments for the older workers
  • TACT3Tackling ageing continence through theory, tools and technology

Get our newsletter

I agree to the Terms and Conditions
Find out more about our newsletter