Following three decades of heavy investment in European assistive technologies, the industry-led innovations have developed solutions that lack user engagement, ethical consideration and European values. Several European countries suffer a substantial lack of research skills in the field of ICT assistive technology solutions, and this extends to few practitioners understanding best practice research on engaging with older people.
Addressing the Challenge
The European Union lacks serious and comprehensive research on its unified approach to the ethical and legal aspects of assistive technologies and solutions for older people. Research confirms that there was a negative impact for older people, caused by the many technologies that were developed without consulting or engaging with them during the design stage.
The research showed a correlation between the way in which existing values are driving technological innovation, and how technology is changing people’s standards. It brought together social scientists, ethicists, and technologists to exchange lessons on aspects that impact older people’s quality of life, and assisting them ageing at home.
Professor Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem is Chair in Architecture at the School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University. He is contributing to teaching Architecture courses and supervision of PGR students.
At Nottingham Trent University, Gamal is leading the development of the University’s Innovative ‘Global Centre on Heritage Sciences and Management Research’, a research team that aims to engage with and produce strategic research projects with evident global impact on improving Heritage Conservation and preservation strategies on the international and cross boundary levels. His world leading research is currently leading partnerships and consortium teams that include several American, British, European and Middle Eastern Universities and research organisations, and specialist industries.
Making a Difference
The Project developed the first comprehensive European reviews and recommendations for policies, action plans, and ecosystems for assistive technologies to support older people in their living conditions.
It has produced a set of recommendations for policymakers, designers, technology providers, service operators and other stakeholders. These have been reviewed and considered by the European Commission for future funding projects and policy objectives. The project also produced a set of best practices for evidence-led models that incorporates the diverse range of needs of the heterogeneous older population. It follows the co-creation and co-design approaches, and considers older users as an essential part of the design process in all its stages.