As a result of demographic change, the number of people aged 65 and over is rising, with more and more individuals requiring technical support in everyday life. Technological solutions offer the potential to help elderly people and their relatives or carers. The Swiss centre of competence has set up living labs across Switzerland to support the development of user-friendly technologies for the elderly. In living labs, people aged 65 and over, along with their relatives or carers, test and evaluate technologies in their everyday environment.
The Swiss competence centre tests assistive technologies that increase and support the safety, autonomy and quality of life of elderly people. These technologies include easy-to-use digital technologies and services, as well as more complex robotic solutions. The tests are carried out in private homes, assisted living facilities, old people’s homes and nursing homes.
Their testing procedure is based on several different levels.
The technologies are tested with senior citizens for user-friendliness, usefulness and acceptance during 3-6 months in an everyday-life setting. Based on feedback, products are then improved upon and can go through further test loops until they are optimised for their use case.
The research centre would like to test technologies designed to support elderly people at home or in care institutions. They can cooperate throughout the whole product development and offer background information helpful from the idea-finding process to the market entry. Technologies can also be prototypes at an early stage of development or products ready for market testing. Optimally, partners would supply the technology to be tested free of charge, so that end-users can test it in their habitual environments. The tests should not be associated with any costs or obligations to purchase for the end users. The tests are a chance to improve and adapt the product to actual user needs and are not to be used as means of promotion or commercial activity.
Competencies and resources:
- Expertise in social science research (quantitative and qualitative).
- Technological expertise in product testing and innovation optimisation.
- A large national network of innovative decentralised test environments (private households, exclusive collaborations
with homes for the elderly, retirement homes and assisted living facilities).
- National and international networks comprising universities, business partners, practitioners and utility service providers.
- Integration into the age and ageing in society national innovation network, which is led by the Swiss competence centre.
In case of a partnership, a joint grant application would have to be sent to a suitable sponsor or foundation. The application can be written by either partner or in collaboration. The Swiss research centre offers support in the writing process of grant applications.
Research cooperations with companies or research organisations are sought.