We have so many options through which to communicate with our friends and relatives during the lockdown, thanks to our smartphones and the number of apps that serve all possible needs. Impressive as they are though, a smartphone is not suitable for everyone. In particular older people can find them less easy to use, and the consequent loss of communication ability is addressed by [Manu] with the Yayagram, described in a thread of Spanish-language Tweets and later the thread was translated into English.
On the top of the box is a microphone with push-to-talk switch, a small thermal printer, and a set of 1/4″ jack sockets with associated jump lead. Each socket corresponds to a relative, and an audio message to that relative can be posted via Telegram simply by speaking into the microphone with the button pressed. Replies are then printed through the thermal printer. Meanwhile behind the scenes is a Raspberry Pi holding it all together.
We like the simplicity of the interface, and who wouldn’t want to ensure that their older relatives were able to keep in touch! But while the jump lead is a neat touch, we hope it’s not too difficult for extremely frail hands. It’s certainly not the first accessibility project for older people that we’ve seen.
A lot of commercial offerings of technology aimed at helping the elderly seem to do a good job on the surface, but anything other than superficial interaction with them tends to be next to impossible for its intended users. Complicated user interfaces and poor design consideration reign in this space.  noticed this and was able to design a better solution for an elderly relative’s digital day planner after a commercial offering he tried couldn’t automatically adjust for Daylight Savings.
Of course, the clock/day planner has a lot going on under the surface that the elderly relative may not be able to use, but the solution to all of that was to make it update over the network. This task  plans to do remotely since the relative does not live anywhere nearby. It is based on a Raspberry Pi connected to a Uniroi screen which automatically dims but can be switched off by means of a large button in the front. The UI shows the date, time, and a number of messages or reminders in large font in order to improve ’s relative’s life.
This is a great idea for anyone with their own elderly relative which might need something like this but won’t want to interact with the technology other than the cursory glance, but the project is also a great illustration of proper design for the intended users. Commercial offerings often had hidden buttons and complicated menus, but this has none of that, much like this well-designed walker for an elderly Swede.
Prosthetic and assistive technologies have come have come a long way in recent years. When there are not only major medical research organizations, but individuals getting on board designing tools to improve the lives of others? That’s something special. Enter a homebrew essay into this field: ExoArm.
Attached to the body via what was available — in this case, the support harness for a gas-powered weed-eater — which distributes the load across the upper body and an Arduino for a brain, ExoArm designer [Kristjan Berce] has since faced roadblocks with muscle sensors meant to enable more instinctive control. So — for now — functionality is limited to a simple up and down motion controlled by two switches. It is worth noting that the down switch is currently mounted in such a way that when the user moves their arm down, the ExoArm follows suit, so there is some natural feel to using the arm in its present iteration.
Continue reading “An ExoArm For The Elderly” →
Most of the hacks we come across here at Hackaday don’t require much more than being “cool” to get our attention. But, every so often we find something that goes a step beyond that and does something truly good for the world. This is one such project, and its goal couldn’t be anymore altruistic: to allow the elderly to enjoy music, even when their declining vision and motor skills make traditional devices difficult to use.
It’s hard to overstate how important music is to people; there are few forms of art more emotionally effective. So, it was a major loss when an elderly relative of [DusteD] was no longer able to operate their CD player. Luckily, [DusteD] was there with an ingenious solution that uses RFID cards to play music from an always-on Raspberry Pi.
Continue reading “Music Player For The Ability-Impaired” →
[Hari Wiguna’s] father is ninety years young. He started having trouble pushing the buttons on his TV remote, so [Hari] decided to build a custom remote that just has the buttons his dad needs. Oh, and the buttons are big.
There are a few interesting things about this project. [Hari] wanted to maximize battery life, so he went through a good bit of effort to keep the processor asleep and minimize power consumption. The remote is programmable, but [Hari] didn’t have access to his dad’s remotes. His answer was elegant. He used his Android phone to mimic the required remotes and provided a way for the remote to learn from another remote (in this case, the phone).
Continue reading “Just Don’t Call It An Old Remote” →
In an attempt to create an easier to use interface for the elderly, [Stephen] has put together this phone prototype which uses RFID tags to dial. It is common for our motor skills and eyesight to deteriorate as we get older. There are special phones out there, but generally the only changes they make are enlarged buttons and louder speakers. [Stephen] had the idea to make a system where an elderly person would hold up a picture of the person to the phone and it would dial. He picked up an RFID card reader and an Arduino. The code for the RFID reader was already available, and with minor modifications to prevent multiple swipes from hand tremors or slow movements, he was able to get it working pretty fast. The Arduino then sends the data to an ioBridge to make the call.He’s using Google voice to physically place the call, so you could probably adapt this to other services as well. You can see a video of it in action after the break.
Continue reading “RFID Controlled Phone Dialing” →