Invisible connections: Investigating older people's emotions and social relations around objects

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Conference Proceeding
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, 2014, pp. 1937 - 1940
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The advent of the Internet of Things creates an interest in how people might interrelate through and with networks of internet enabled objects. With an emphasis on fostering social connection and physical activity among older people, this preliminary study investigated objects that people over the age of 65 years viewed as significant to them. We conducted contextual interviews in people's homes about their significant objects in order to understand the role of the objects in their lives, the extent to which they fostered emotional and social connections and physical activity, and how they might be augmented through internet connection. Discussion of significant objects generated considerable emotion in the participants. We identified objects of comfort and routine, objects that exhibited status, those that fostered independence and connection, and those that symbolized relationships with loved ones. These findings lead us to consider implications for the design of interconnected objects.
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