Older Adults and Technology

In the developed world populations are ageing. Many older adults struggle to maintain their independence and spend increasing amounts of time living with disability and poor health. However, a significant minority of older adults are ageing successfully and engage with the digital age with increasing numbers using mobile phones and the internet. PaCT are involved in developing interventions that increase independence. But we also recognise that current technologies are not always easily accessible to the older user. PaCT have substantial expertise in identifying technological requirements and usability testing with this group.

PaCT have a well established, active research team that specialises in ageing research. We are based in a psychology department but have excellent interdisciplinary links. Previous projects include a 30-year longitudinal study: North East Age Research examining cognitive ageing. We recently completed a New Dynamics of Ageing project (a joint initiative by Research Council’s UK RCUK), which examined the relationship between successful ageing and mobility patterns in the oldest-old (over 75 years). We used a combination of GPS, accelerometry and diaries to map mobility and examine participant’s interactions with GPS technology. In addition we have conducted a number of discussion groups examining older adults responses to current technologies such as mobile phones, iPads and the potential of games consoles to increase levels of physical activity.


ACANTO (www.ict-acanto.eu) is a Horizon 2020 project designed to improve people’s social and physical wellbeing and focuses on the 60+, post-retirement demographic. The ACANTO system has four major components that are under development: • The FriWalk is a robotic guide situated in centres of interests (e.g. shopping centres and museums) which people can use during … Continue reading “ACANTO”


In the cSALSA project, we take a lifespan approach to studying how cyber-security is understood, and the attitudes and behaviours of people to cyber-security and risk. The project studies cyber-security across three main life stages – amongst young people, those of working age, and older people. The research project focuses on how people’s attitudes and … Continue reading “cSALSA”

Ambient-Assisted Living: Freedom to Roam

The TSB project, Freedom to roam project is a £3M consortium project, led by CBSL, that includes Newcastle City Council, Hull City Council, O2 Telefonica, Northern Rock Foundation, Scottish Centre for Telehealth, Quality of Life Partnership, The Essentia Group, Trackaphone Limited and Northumbria University. The project has been designed to address issues such as social … Continue reading “Ambient-Assisted Living: Freedom to Roam”

DALI: Designing Assisted Living

This is an FP7 European funded project. The aim of the DALi project is to produce a device that will prolong out-of-home mobility for older adults. One key to successful ageing is the ability to stay independently mobile, enabling sustained levels of physical and social activity. In DALi, we pursue autonomous mobility through the development … Continue reading “DALI: Designing Assisted Living”

New Dynamics of Ageing: Mobility and Ageing

Ageing is generally associated with a decrease in mobility and social interaction and this decrease can be dependent upon various health and social factors. The aim of this project was to utilise an innovative method for mapping the mobility of the oldest-old members of an existing 20 year longitudinal study of ageing. The project drew … Continue reading “New Dynamics of Ageing: Mobility and Ageing”

Taking on the Teenagers – Using Adolescent Energy to Reduce Energy Use

This EPSRC funded programme incorporates research groups based in the PaCT Lab, Child Computer Interaction (ChiCI) group at the University of Central Lancashire, the Advanced Interaction Group at the University of Birmingham, the London Knowledge Lab (LKL) at IoE and Birkbeck and the Future Interactive Technology Lab at Swansea University. This research aims to investigate, … Continue reading “Taking on the Teenagers – Using Adolescent Energy to Reduce Energy Use”