BRELOMATE 2 - Fighting Loneliness with TV and Tablet
While ICT has a huge impact on everyday communication and social participation, elderly people struggle to overcome technical barriers such as complex interaction with devices and services.
Research studies show that life events like transitioning from working life to retirement, the loss of a life partner and sudden changes in living arrangements potentially increase the risk of social isolation among elderly people.
In Austria about ten percent of people aged 60 to 69 years and seventeen percent of people aged 80+ are affected by social isolation.
Easy Set-up via the Set-Top Box
With BRELOMATE your own TV becomes the centre of gaming and online communication. The inexpensive home set-up consists of just three devices: a TV plus set-top box, an Internet router and a tablet.
The BRELOMATE second screen tablet app is a control unit that interacts with a set-top box for game visualisation and live communication. The tablet acts as the control unit for video telephony, card games and other planned online services. The TV monitor is an ideal size for displaying information and reducing interaction complexity.
Steep Learning Curve amongst Test Users
The project partners St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences and Internet service provider kabelplus involved groups of elderly users from design to development. The first services developed included video communication and the popular Austrian turn-based card game Schnapsen.
Initial tests showed that elderly users aged 61 to 81 quickly engaged in gaming. The ten test subjects were firsttime tablet users and they were playfully introduced to learning the second screen interaction concept. As confidence and technical acceptance rose during the thirty-minute sessions, the course of the game became more fluent and video communication was used more often.
In 2017 over forty elderly households in the St. Pölten area will participate in a large field study for a six-month period accompanied by social scientists. The high quality of interaction design and easy-to-use hardware and software allows seniors to engage and participate in extended online experiences. BRELOMATE aims to become a marketable online gaming and communication platform, offering online services for the elderly to foster a long, independent and selforganised life at home.
St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences
Further Project Partner
Jakob Doppler, MSc