Design of a Community-Supported capAble Microwave System for People with Intellectual and Physical Disabilities
Italian Forum of Ambient Assisted Living, Pisa, 22nd June, 2016
Product personalisation has become a central topic and expected part of every day life. Different people have different characteristics and abilities and every single user has different needs which means that products have to be tailored accordingly. Micro- wave ovens are one of the most commonly used home appliances. People use them to quickly heat or cook certain foods. Today, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 90% of U.S. households own a microwave oven . This project seeks to enable people with intellectual disabilities and physical impairments to perform simple cooking tasks. The target group includes ageing people who experience difficulties in using microwave systems, with a particularly low grade of autonomy in preparing foods and meals. In order to address the specific needs of the defined group of users, the research follows the principles of the Quality Function Deployment analysis and takes inspiration from the DfA (Design for All) theories and the UCD (User Centred Design) method. The aim of the research is to find new solutions in order to simplify certain activities of daily living for users who would otherwise be excluded from these actions. In the second stage, the project, seeks to provide a set of tools that enable the interaction with smart appliances to grow the sense of community, by sharing information within a social network and a Cloud-based service system. The main challenge is to create a “Community Supported Appliance” that provides technology and settings for enabling users in performing one daily activity. The CSA wants to be a simple to use, affordable learning system, continuously fed from the community of carers and service users, that has the potential, to be used, in the near future, from a wider group of people. A device of this type benefits from added value given from expert users to others from the community, in the form of sequenced multimedia instructions to the person and direct operating instructions to the appliance.