Towards smart habitats: Investigation of design aspects for smart furniture for the elderly

Author: Mr Aleksandar Petrovski STSM Period: 2018-09-05 – 2018-09-30

ECI: No

Hosting institution: Faculty of Technical Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 6 Novi Sad 106314. Novi Sad, Serbia

From ITC: No


Summary

Towards smart habitats: Investigation of design aspects for smart furniture for the elderly

1.Aim and motivation – scientific motivation and scientific outcomes
The society is ageing and it is estimated that in 2020, one-fifth of the European population will be over 65 years old [1]. It is noted that there is a tendency in elderly people to stay at home instead of moving into residential care. This, in turn, requires certain assistance to them in order to conduct their daily activities. According to the World Health Organization, this tendency will generate difficulties to cover the home assistance needs in the near future because of the lack of health workers and doctors [2]. This accents the need for developing smart furniture solutions that will assist the elderly towards healthy and active ageing.

Also, the way we live and behave is constantly changing throughout the decades, the concept of the home/building has evolved as well as the needs of the occupants. Today, the buildings are no longer a simple and passive place but a dynamic one that needs to satisfy multiple demands of the users, such as the need to be comfortable, secure, easy to use and maintain, to be ergonomical, energy efficient etc. The new technologies, offer solutions to achieve the occupants’ needs with their integration in smart buildings and smart furniture. The identification of the needs and the creation of a participatory design process is a must in order to make life more comfortable and functional.

Therefore, the objective of this STSM research is to identify the available technologies, the needs of the elderly, their behaviour, psychological and ergonomic needs in order to define key design aspects that need to be implemented in the design of smart furniture and its integration into a smart habitat. The aim is to establish a model for a participatory and integrative design when designing smart furniture which will be based on defined design criteria. This would enable the development of novel research ideas that generate fixed and moveable furniture. Also, this would help the elderly to define their expectations and needs clearly, which will greatly help to identify design and performance issues at the earliest stage of design projects.

The output of the STSM will provide furniture designers with valuable guidelines on the needs of the elderly which will enable them to design smart furniture. The identification of behavioural, ergonomical, psychological and physical needs of users will also significantly contribute towards the creation of sustainable solutions. Also, considering that furniture design is an important factor in the European economy and industry, it is necessary to identify its direction for future development. I’m convinced that this research is very relevant to the work of Working Group One: Furniture and Habitat Industry and the whole SHELD-ON COST action and aligned with its research objectives in achieving smart habitats that would assist them towards an active, healthy and fulfilling ageing.

The findings and results produced during the STSM will be published in a relevant conference or journal, such as the Journal of Architecture, Journal of Architectural Research or Ergonomics.

[1] EU Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme, 2012, Demographic data and future trends about ageing, Available at: http://www.aal-europe.eu/about/demographic-change/
[2] “Ageing and life course,” http://www.who.int/ageing,

* Justification for choice of the host institution
Together with the colleagues at the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, the applicant will discuss and collect information about the smart technologies and their integration into the smart furniture products and smart homes. Experience of the Host in previous studies on the aforementioned topics will be of great benefit for the STSM, especially in the domain of smart technology and sensors.

* Benefits of the STSM
The host will benefit from the expertise of the visitor in management of design teams, participatory and integrative design models. The visitor will benefit from expertise of the hosts in design of smart technologies and sensors.
With conducting of the STSM, the applicant will bring the gained knowledge and skills to his home country and disseminate it with peers and among furniture producers in order to drive the industry towards the production of smart furniture.
The knowledge exchange between the Host and the Guest will enable further a mutual collaboration in order to apply for joint research and EU funded project on similar subjects regarding wooden structures and elements for the improvement of buildings’ sustainability. Also the STSM will provide basis establishing future collaboration and networking with possibilities for staff exchange, guest lecture and joint work in educating students, conducting seminars and workshops for professionals and the industry.

2.Proposed contribution to the scientific objectives of the Action
The STSM will potentially result in a review paper about psychology and physiology of the elderly, behaviours, design and ergonomics of smart products for the elderly. The targeted journal is Journal of Architecture, Journal of Architectural Research or Ergonomics. The paper will provide guidelines and propose a model for an integrative and participatory design.

The outputs of the STSM are:
Output 1 – Literature survey and analysis of the state-of-the-art literature on aspects of furniture design for the elderly. The finding will be categorized into several domains, such as psychological, physiological, ergonomical, social, personalisation etc.
Output 2 – Estabilshment of design aspects relevant for the design of smart furniture will enable the measurement of vital signs in a reliable and effective way
Output 3 – Review of existing smart furniture design products and their integration into a smart building
Output 4 – Investigation of certification schemes for Smart Furniture and their relation with sustainable buildings.
Output 5 – Proposal of a model for an integrative and participatory design.
Output 6 – Dissemination of knowledge with furniture producers in my home country.
Output 7 – Produce material for a research paper.

The deliverables of the STSM research are:
a. To show that the smart furniture can significantly improve the indoor living conditions and assist the elderly
b. Contributing to a report on the current state-of-the-art of smart furniture products
c.Investigate, establish and categorize design aspects for smart furniture.
d. Proposal of a model for an integrative and participatory design.
e. Improved expertise among furniture producers in the home country.
f. The STSM contributes to the deliverables of the COST CA 16226 SHELD-ON as stated in the MoU and more specifically to the Work Group 1 – Furniture and Habitat Industries.

3.Techniques – what techniques or equipment you may learn to use
During the STSM a desk analysis will be performed regarding the current state of the art of smart furniture, smart buildings, ergonomic design and behavioural design, with a focus on the elderly.
A framework matrix will be made in order to assess the findings and gaps in the current achievments in the research field.
Mapping of design aspects and technologies will be made, which are relevant for the design of smart furniture and its integration within a smart building.
Interviews will be made with companies that produce furniture in order to identify the techno-economical and technological aspects of the production of smart furniture.

4.Planning – detail the steps you will take to achieve your proposed aim
During the STSM the domains of psychological and physical needs of the elderly, ergonomics and the healthy indoor environment will be investigated. Key design aspects which are needed to be considered when designing smart furniture will be investigated and their potential for integration within the smart building will be assessed. A model for a participatory and integrative design will be proposed. That would foster the development of novel research ideas that generate fixed and moveable furniture.

Prior to the STSM the following preparatory activities will be conducted, such as:
•Preparation of framework for the analysis of the state of the art research papers.

During the STSM the following activities will be conducted within an elaborated timeframe, with an intention of achieving the aims and objectives of the research.
•Day 1- 3 – Review of literature of the state-of the art for design of smart furniture,
•Day 4 – 7 Review of literature regarding design aspects, such as ergonomics, behavioural studies etc.
•Day 8 – 11 Review of literature regarding available technologies for smart furniture.
•Day 12 – 14 Review of literature regarding the connectivity of smart furniture and smart building.
•Day 15- 16 Identification of certification schemes for smart furniture.
•Day 17 – 21 Interviews with companies that produce furniture in order to identify the techno-economical and technological aspects of the production of smart furniture.
•Day 21- 26 Preparation of a model for an participatory and integrative design.

After the STSM
•Developing knowledge as a support for more extensive use of smart technologies for creation of smart furniture.
•Preparing powerpoint slides for the presentation of the work procedure and outcomes of the STSM.
•Writing an STSM report after the completion of STSM.
•Writing a follow-up paper after the completion of STSM.
•Publishing a research paper in journal or conference, such as Journal of Architecture, Journal of Architectural Research, Ergonomics etc.

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