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Caring for older family members is a current political conundrum. How you finance it, the conditions of care, the cost of ‘social care’, the support for family carers, and the working conditions for those carers. There is here an opportunity to look at the home space as a host for these tensions.

On November 9th & 10th 2017, we curated 13 projects that represent thought provoking and even controversial ideas of how technology fits within the process of ageing at home. These projects shed new light in this dark space, the one that comes before a loved one’s death or chronic illness no matter what their age. We have focused on companies that showed an interest in multi-disciplinary and blended approach of design, user-centered practices, art and technology.

Buy the newspaper of the exhibition.


Tinybots, (Netherlands)
Tessa is a small social robot that helps people with cognitive disabilities. Tessa helps people by reminding them to take their medicine, remembers birthdays of friends and family, reminds people to take a walk at specific times. Tessa provides opportunities for family, informal caregivers, and healthcare professionals to support those moments when there is nobody present in house.
Tessa works through an app that works on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. When it is the scheduled date and time, Tessa will speak these messages with her friendly voice.


Buddy Radio
Sidekick Studios (UK)
A simple dial allows the user to select their mood for the day instead of their favorite radio station. Once selected that mood is posted online.
This helps extend the community of carers beyond just healthcare and mental health professionals to family, friends and peers. Data collected by the Buddy software can also assist toward the ultimate goal of a individual’s self-management while also helping to coordinate a community response to a person’s needs.


No Isolation (Netherlands)
A one-button computer designed to enable frequent and easy communication with family and friends.
A network of family and friends use a mobile app to send messages and photos, or to video call. Kom presents this content in readable typography, high resolution and with good contrast.
Komp is designed for people with no or limited digital skill, low motivation to learn, strongly reduced eyesight and reduced level of physical ability.



Connected Social Care Report
Doteveryone (UK)
A report exploring the digital needs of people in care at home and in care homes. The report made recommendations as well as came up with ideas for embedding digital services in mobile phones and a person’s environment and their health services as they get older.


Uninvited Guests
Superflux (UK)
A short film exploring the tensions between a 70 year old man and his smart home.
Thomas lives on his own after his wife died last year.
His children send him smart devices to track and monitor his diet, health and sleep from a distance. But Thomas has always been fiercely independent, happy to live in an organised mess. He struggles with the order and rules imposed on him by the objects that are meant to make his life easier.


Mayfield Robotics (USA)
An intelligent home robot designed with personality, awareness, mobility.
It isn’t currently marketed at homes with elderly people, but not unlike Paro, perhaps its limited linguistic ability will be an asset to interacting with older people.
As Matt Jones of Google said, some technologies should only ever ‘be as smart as a puppy.

Beveridge Report 4.0
Hillary Cottam
Participle (UK)
A report highlighting the coming health and care challenges of the United Kingdom 67 years after the 1948 Beveridge report which lead to the formation of the National Health Service (NHS).

Homes for our old age: Independent living by design
The Design Council & CABE (UK)
Report which features 10 case studies of housing schemes for older people, each of which offers inventive design and management solutions linking home and social care.


Kemuri (UK)
KemuriSense® smart power sockets measure motion, temperature, power usage and power supply.
Data is sent continuously to the internet without using broadband and even during power cuts.
Kemuri informs family friends and carers whether a vulnerable person is warm, eating, drinking and moving around as normal – to get peace of mind.


Good Night Lamp
Good Night Lamp (UK)
A network of lamps to help sync with global friends and family.
Turn on a Big Lamp and Little Lamps around the world turn on too.
The Good Night Lamp helps grandparents connect to their families with the switch of a button. They use it to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘I’m available’.


Radio Me
Telefonica R&D Barcelona (Spain)
A service that let’s elderly people leave voice messages that are received as audio messages on Whatsapp, Line or any other messaging service by their adult children. They then send a voice message back which appears as a blinking light, like those of answering machines in the 1990s.The product uses a push-to talk interface to make it easy to use.

Sensolus, Studio Dott, Waylay (BE)
A result of the DIOTTO project, this system is made up of a digital photo frame, a timeline with daily activities and sensors.
With ÇAVA, grandparents can be part of the social networks they previously didn’t have access to. Through the digital photo frame, they regularly receive photos and messages from family and friends, and can respond to them. Combined with sensors placed on objects that are used on a daily basis or in specific places, the family can follow up on the daily routine and any abnormalities.
This creates a sense of security, without invading a person’s privacy.


Meal Butler
Demetra & Studio Dott (BE)
A simple and safe slow cooker for ready-to-eat meals targeting seniors. Using an advanced and energy-efficient form of thermal induction, the Mealbutler slowly warms the meal in its original packaging or crockery. There is less evaporation this way, so the meal stays tasty.
After 45 minutes (and always 45 minutes), the meal has reached the perfect temperature. That long? It turns out, for older people that’s not a problem at all. They just want to know in advance exactly when the meal will be ready.

Hosted by

Aalst Care living Lab
Special thanks to director Elise Van Opstal.

Curated by

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Dries De Roeck from Studio Dott.

4 Graanmarkt
9300 Aalst
Thursday November 9th, 12-6pm
Friday 10th 1-5pm

De manier waarom we als samenleving in de nabije toekomst zullen omgaan met het zorgen voor familieden is op vele vlakken nog een raadsel. Het politieke en financiële kader is één ding, daarnaast stellen zich verschillende vragen over de voorwaarden en verwachtingen van zorg, de psychische ‘kost’ van (mantel)zorg en de werkomstandigheden van professionele zorgverleners. Hoewel dit stuk voor stuk complexe uitdagingen zijn, bieden er zich duidelijke opportuniteiten aan om zorgverlening op andere manieren te bekijken.
Op 9 en 10 November richten we onze schijnwerpers op een aantal opmerkelijke internationale zorgprojecten uit het verleden, het heden en de toekomst. We kaderen zorg in ruimtelijke invulling, consumenten producten en dienstverlening. De selectie aan projecten laat een frisse wind waaien doorheen de vaak onbesproken periode voor de dood of chronische ziekte van mensen rondom ons.
Tijdens ‘The Good Home: Aalst” ligt onze focus ligt op het brengen van een multidisciplinaire blik en mix van gebruikers gedreven ontwerpen, kunst en technologie.
Omdat er een heel aantal vooroordelen bestaan over de zorgsector, vinden we het eens zo belangrijk om dit moeilijke thema aan te snijden. Een gemeenschappelijk doel moet zijn om samen op zoek te gaan naar creatieve zorgoplossingen die steek houden voor iedereen.

Een greep uit de gepresenteerde projecten:

Doteveryone (UK), Good Night Lamp (UK), Kemuri (UK), Kuri (USA), No Isolation (Netherlands), Participle (UK), Sidekick Studios (UK), Superflux (UK), The Design Council (UK), Tinybots (Netherlands), DIOTTO (Belgium).


Met dank aan Elise Van Opstal (zorgproeftuin AIPA) kan ‘the good home’ doorgaan in Aalst, België. De curatie gebeurd door Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Designswarm) en Dries De Roeck (Studio Dott).
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