Future Self and Design Living Lab


Sonja Pedell, PhD | Associate Professor | Director FSD Lab | School of Design | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | spedell@swin.edu.au | Ph: +61 3 9214 6079 



1. FSD Lab description


The Future Self and Design Lab has developed core development capabilities in the area of innovative socio-technical systems and design solutions for health and wellbeing with a focus on older adults. Technology, products and services can make a big difference to older people, but it rarely addresses their needs. The FSD Living Lab develops technology, products and services that are likely to be adopted as they meet the social-emotional goals and lead to commercial outcomes. The Lab also makes sure that the spaces housing these technologies and services meet user needs. Co-creating solutions with end-user involvement at every step ensures solutions can address their evolving needs. Participants of the FSD Lab are motivated to improve quality of life for older adults through the actual development and implementation services (Semantrix, Laneway Labs, SUT, Leef, Twin Parks) and their dispersal via policies (Leef, COTA), education (SUT, Seniorpreneurs) and public access (COTA, Boroondara Council, Seniorpreneurs, Inner East Community Health).

2. Project(s)

The projects below illustrate the type of activities in our Lab

Touchframe – a wellbeing check with a focus on social connections

Social technologies offer potential for enhancing aged care, but industry has largely focused on formalised care settings, rather than supporting informal care in the home. We developed and examined the use of a novel social technology ‘Touchframe’ to support the provision of well-being check use for older adults living at home. Our findings of three fields studies and co-creative workshops with older adults demonstrate that ‘PictureFrame’ was valuable for providing reassurance, capturing emotional aspects of caregiving, and for monitoring well-being in subtle, non-intrusive ways [Sonja Pedell, Leon Sterling; Alen Keirnan]

Ensemble music - Shared socail interaction for older people with dementia

This research contributes to dementia care while exploring musical performance of abstract electronic and classical music via an iPad controller. Findings suggest that people livign with dementia can successfully perform and engage in collaborative music performance activities with little or no scaffolded instruction if the music is based on their individual interests. [Stuart Favilla, Sonja Pedell]

3. Living Lab methods and tools:

Adoption rates are particularly low when technologies do not address the emotional and social needs of older adults. The FSD Lab brings a unique focus to incorporating these needs at the start of the innovation lifecycle of any product or service. Emotional and social goals address how one or several users feel about a system rather than the properties of a system. Function and quality of the user experience are not lost in the development process while emotional goals are woven into the overall process. They guide and motivate our design solutions giving users a strong voice in the outcome. The linear diagram (Figure 1) outlines our overall emotion-led approach and is, in fact, highly iterative with evaluation at each stage by end-users to ensure that all goals are captured and understood. This also allows for new insights and ideas to impact on the design and development process.


The results of our co-creative ethnographic methods can be used by software engineers, industrial and interior designers during the development processes to capture functional and social-emotional requirements.More information on the emotion-led deisgn can be found at : http://people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/tmiller/pubs/emotional-goals.pdf You can find example projects using this method on our website.

4. The Future Self and Design Living Lab in a box

We enable older adults in co-creating engaging and meaningful technologies, products, services and spaces. These innovative holistic solutions address social and emotional goals enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of the ageing population and enable indpendent living for longer.  

5. Website, Social media

The FSD Lab engages with the community through:

Website: http://www.cdiengage.com/living-lab),

Social media – Twitter: Kira_FSD, FSDLivingLab, CDIengage 

future self