We conducted a user study to evaluate the usability of handheld AR applications for the elderly (a). Since the results show that elderly users have difficulties holding up a tablet computer over a long period of time, we tested whether using head-mounted displays is an alternative for them (b). We further propose improved AR user interfaces for tablet computers that do not require continuously holding up the device (c).
Mobility and independence are key aspects for self-determined living in today's world and demographic change presents the challenge to retain these aspects for the aging population. Augmented Reality (AR) user interfaces might support the elderly for example when navigating as pedestrians or by explaining how devices and mobility aids work and how they are maintained. This poster reports on the results of practical field tests with elderly subjects testing handheld AR applications. The main finding is that common handheld AR user interfaces are not suited for the elderly because they require the user to hold up the device so the back-facing camera captures the object or environment related to which digital information shall be presented. Tablet computers are too heavy and they do not provide sufficient grip to hold them over a long period of time. One possible alternative is using head-mounted displays (HMD) and we present the promising results of a user test evaluating whether elderly people can deal with AR interfaces on a light-weight HMD. We conclude with an outlook to improved handheld AR user interfaces that do not require continuously holding up the device, which we hope are better suited for the elderly.
With the demographic change, the meaning of mobility and independence for the elderly is more important than ever before. Besides outdoor and in-house mobility, modern mobility also includes all kinds of physical and digital interfaces such as transfer points in public transport or ticket vending machines. It is important to adapt the variety of available technical solutions and products to the elderly's needs. The aim of the research project PASSAge is the implementation of seamless mobility chains, which include and combine different kinds of supporting technologies, services, and solutions, including Augmented Reality.
There is relatively little work on AR applications to support elderly people. Avilés-López et al. propose using an augmented view onto a pillbox through the camera of a mobile phone to help elderlies when to take medication. Schall et al. developed a prototype system to support elderlies in hazard detection while driving a vehicle. A robot with an AR screen to support drug dose control has been proposed and tested by Lera.
Our field tests aim at evaluating the suitability of existing AR technologies running on tablet PCs for the elderly and whether AR can support their mobility and independence. The insights of the tests shall provide valuable input for improvements and further development. As...