Winter mortality in older people – Tens of thousands of older people die every year due to the cold. The target user group faces social stigma to do with ageism, many do not want to admit that they need help, nor would use a product that would label them as old.
Kelvin, the moving thermometer. Research has shown that older people are physiologically less sensitive to temperature drops. When the room is too cold, Kelvin closes it’s leaves, imitating the natural movement of leaves when there is a lack of light. When the room is up to temperature, the leaves reopen
A dress a doll style workshop was run with the residents of the New Larchwood centre. Participants were give many a selection of garments and instructed to dress their doll as they would themselves in a variety of situations.
Older people are less sensitive to temperature change and they bodies are slower to respond, meaning that it is too late when they feel cold. Furthermore, there is social stigma associated with being old, many users do not want to have a product that will make them feel old.
From the data collected, 100+ ideas were generated, after sessions of selections with users, the idea of a shape shifting thermometer was finalised, sketching was used to further explore and refine the idea.
Smart material shape memory polymers (SMPs) were explored as they move according to temperature. However, the material is relatively new, their activation temperatures are quite rough. Such inaccuracies were not acceptable, hence this mechanism was eliminated.