The £300,000 project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will study groups of older people, who will be guided as pedestrians, passengers or drivers through an unfamiliar town projected in the University’s state-of-the-art Virtual Reality CAVE facility.
Researchers will then discuss the subjects’ responses to what they have experienced, and will ascertain their impressions of the town. One of the key factors to be explored is what prompts, signs and signals the subjects rely on to find their way about the unfamiliar environment.
The subjects will be asked to repeat the exercise in real life, in the same town used for the virtual reality experiment, and the responses will be measured again.
It is hoped that findings from the research will enable refinements to be made to current Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies, making navigational aids more accessible and user-friendly to older people.
And the research should also lead to the development of a toolkit for spatial planners, aiding the design of towns and cities with the needs of older people in mind.
The project is led by Professor Judith Phillips, Professor of Gerontology and Social Work and Head of the University’s School of Human Sciences.
Professor Phillips also directs the new Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ageing, and is co-director of the Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network (OPAN Cymru), which aims to enhance the quality of research into gerontology and strengthen collaboration between researchers, policy-makers and service providers.
Dr Phillips said: “In many respects, Wales already leads the rest of the world in its adoption of policies and strategies to improve the well-being of older people. Wales was the first country in Europe to have a national Strategy for Older People, not to mention a Commissioner for Older People.
“Wales has an ageing population and, whilst ageing is undoubtedly an immensely positive experience, it does raise issues surrounding how we care for older people, particularly those who are dependent, and it of course has an impact on the economy. We also live in a society that isn’t particularly tolerant of ageing or older people.
“Clearly there is much more research to be done to understand how we can improve on this position. I am confident that this new ESRC-funded project will make a real difference to our understanding of how older people familiarise themselves in unfamiliar towns and cities, which in turn should lead to measurable enhancements to existing technologies and spatial planning strategies.”
The project encompasses a range of partners from the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, the voluntary and commercial sectors, including Castleoak, Age Concern, the University of the Third Age, and the 50+ Network.
The Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ageing has established links with Canada, Sweden, Australia and Germany. The international reputation of Swansea’s research in this field was strengthened earlier this month, with Professor Phillips, Dr Sarah Hillcoat-Nallétamby and Andrew Dunning giving presentations at the Sixth European Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, held in St Petersburg, Russia.
Professor Phillips was also recently elected Secretary of the Association’s European Region, with responsibility for its Social Science and Behavioural section.
For further information about the School of Human Sciences at Swansea University visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/human_sciences/.
Bethan Evans | alfa
Fingerprints of quantum entanglement
16.02.2018 | University of Vienna
Simple in the Cloud: The digitalization of brownfield systems made easy
07.02.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy