Once again, I am here. A lot of time has passed. Many changes, among which a complete topic shift stands out. These are new beginnings, with the included stress of not being sure where everything is heading, and worrying about the possibility of not getting to the end of the line on time. But challenges exists to confront them and either fail… or surpass them. Doing my best, of course, I am aiming to the second 🙂
The new focus of my Ph.D. is on IT for wellbeing. For that purpose, I have started to work within the social informatics group of the University of Trento. My membership on the group started at the end of last year, almost at the same time that I started to work on the Life Participation Project.
In this new project, the main goal is to develop technologies that will enable elderly to participate to life by contributing to society, socially interacting with people in their networks and having an active lifestyle (both physically and cognitively).
My share on the project: to continue the thread on social interactions and communication using better interfaces (e.g. mobile devices like tablets) and to design a flexible architecture/platform to support and ease the development of applications specifically tailored for elderly.
One example of such applications, in the scope of social interactions, is What’s Up – I know, I know, too similar to WhatsApp :). Below is a video that shows exactly what this application is about.
What’s Up is only about connecting elders with their younger relatives or connections, giving them and easy and almost featurless interface, but can we envision a full featured Social Network for Elderly?. Will they engage on it? Why?. How can we help them shared what they like with whom they like?. How can we help them share their lives? How can we motivate their social connections (relatives, peers, caregivers) to engage more actively with them?. These are just some of the questions floating around the subject, that is slowly gaining the shape of a Ph.D. Thesis.
Honestly, a lot to do yet, but I am excited to work on something that I found much more compelling. That’s for now.