Margaret Yau Sciences
Tangible Instant Messaging - Accessible Technology for the Elderly
Technology for the elderly should satisfy not only their functional requirements, but also their social and emotional needs. To develop accessible technology for the elderly and enhance their social connections with their remote family members, Margaret, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, will design, implement, and evaluate a tangible instant messaging system, which employs tangible user interfaces (TUIs) in facilitating communications through instant messaging (IM) for the elderly. TUIs involve the use of physically interactive surfaces, the coupling of physical objects and digital information, and ambient media, such as sound, light, and movement. IM allows synchronous Internet-based communications through short, instant messages. Margaret will employ user-centered design and evaluation methods such as participatory design and field studies, to determine how much this research improves informal communications between the elderly and their families. Her research will also provide important insights into the design of technology for the elderly through TUIs.