Your World ;
By Sally Abrahms
; Will people actually use it?
Audrey Mitchell of Portland, Ore., uses Celia the robot to talk to her family. 14 aarp.org/bulletin APRIL 2012 Scan the code below to see Celia the robot in action. Or go to aarp .org/robot
; People want to age in their homes.
; New technology could help.
Americans love their homes, and given a choice, they’d like to stay in them as they
get older. According to a 2011 AARP report, 90 percent of people age 65-plus
want to age where they are, though less
than 10 percent are using the personal
and safety technology that is already
available to help them do just that.
Meanwhile, researchers, scientists
and designers are working to create
new technology to help Americans
live independently throughout their
lives. But how can they tell if their
products will actually help—or if people will even use them?
Honing such inventions through user
feedback—to make them more effec-
tive and appealing, even to monitor
cognitive decline as it’s happening—is
the concept behind “living labs.” In
this research method, medical and aca-
demic institutions test their ideas for
days, weeks, even years in the homes
of older adults. It’s not just science that
researchers must perfect; the technol-
ogy must also fit into everyday lives.