Multidisciplinary development of Smart Jacket for elder care
Keywords:RFID, workshops, garments, older people, participatory design
Limitations in physical and cognitive functioning are common among elderly people. Due to these limitations, activities of daily living, such as dressing, can be difficult, even with the help of another person. The limitations may also challenge using the assistive tools meant to support the independent living of elderly people. One significant assistive tool is a nurse call -button whose aim is to support the elder’s independent living and ensure the assistance of others when needed. In severe cases, using of such assistive tools is entirely prevented because of the user’s limited abilities.
The purpose of this study was to create a solution for the above-mentioned challenges with smart clothing. The objectives of this study were to design a Smart Jacket that 1) is easy to put on and 2) includes an easy-to-use nurse call button. The product development utilized design thinking through four different Smart Jacket versions, three of which were evaluated in multidisciplinary design workshops. The newly designed and created upper-body garment with assistive zippers in the sleeves can be put on when assistance is available without any movement of the user’s upper limbs.
Further, the developed passive RFID (radiofrequency identification)-based jacket with integrated nurse call -button is functional without an on-jacket energy -source and is thus maintenance free. The nurse call -button is functional more than four meters from an RFID reader antenna. Based on the initial expert evaluations, the developed Smart Jacket could operate as part of a bigger safety system, for example in an elderly care unit or domestic care, bringing a needed new alternative as merged nurse call -button and assistive cloth.
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