Collaborative space for research-innovation and training in technology adaptable to users with special needs in a home

This project belongs to: Biosciencies and sustainability

This project is based on a previous project carried out in Tknika since 2019, where research on the adaptability of housing for dependent people is proposed. The European Union defined in 2017 the Silver Economy as the set of opportunities that begin to flourish from public spending and consumers, linked to the demographic transition that means the aging population and the specific market needs of people over 50 years. (Peter Wintlev-Jensen. Director of the program at the European Commission).

For its part, the study “The Silver Economy” prepared by the Technolopolis group and Oxford Economics for the European Commission defines the Silver Economy as “the sum of all economic activity that meets the needs of people aged 50 or over, including the products and services they buy directly and the increased economic activity generated by this expense.”

In this way, the Silver Economy encompasses a whole series of transversal economic activities related to the production, consumption and trade of goods and services relevant to the elderly, both public and private, and including the direct and indirect effects it generates.

In addition to this, this project aims to have a broader vision, with the aim of an autonomous and independent life, adapting the home with existing and yet to be discovered technology to the particular needs of the user.

With all this, the project is developed in two complementary parallel lines, focused on housing and intermediate spaces between housing and outdoor space: On the one hand, a project will be developed creating a space simulating a smart home adapted to aging or other special needs where housing is a good whose meaning goes beyond the economic, it is the place where a very important part of our lives takes place. The house is essential for all people, but even more so for older people, since as time goes by, the house takes on more importance and meaning. There is a certain consensus regarding the principles that an environment designed for aging must comply with: compensate disability as much as possible, maximize independence, reinforce personal identity, improve confidence, possess qualities that allow understanding the functioning of the building and orienting easily, controlling the balance of stimuli, promoting social interaction, granting privacy when it is the option, providing routes for ambulation, both interiors and exteriors. In addition, the dwellings should maintain a “dynamic relationship” with their occupants, that is, they should respond to changing situations depending on the individual or family life cycle. To the extent that they adjust to the needs that arise over time in our homes, they can be good allies or our greatest enemies. During this course, it is planned to fit out an existing space in the center of Tknika, adapting it to a prototype of an adapted house that will serve as a laboratory for the possibilities offered by the current market. The execution of the work, scheduled for the 2021/2022 academic year, has been planned as follows:

– On the one hand, in terms of the distribution of spaces, the architecture has been adapted following the criteria of Accessibility Decree 68/2000, of April 11, which allows the distribution of the resulting spaces to be adapted for people with reduced mobility. This will allow spatially enabling different groups with needs, in addition to the elderly.

– On the other hand, the proposed house will have a built-in home automation installation that will allow the investigation of the adaptability of a house with the technology that is on the market. In addition to this, a search will be made for technology in the market that allows, in addition to active and healthy aging, the adaptation of the home to the different groups with special needs.

In this way, the result is a housing laboratory where it is possible to analyze, experiment, test and investigate how a home can be fitted out, adapted to the needs that arise throughout life.

On the other hand, within the framework of the intermediate space between housing and outdoor space, it is intended to change the vision and knowledge of teachers and future VET professionals in relation to the needs that are created in the development of integrated habitats. , promoting technological, digital and socio-health innovation from a more humanitarian approach. It will focus specifically on the housing environment. In this way, it will contribute to converting these environments into spaces for socialization that help create community, while being safe spaces that create a sense of security, seeking a balance between privacy and mutual care. These living environments or intermediate spaces are the ones that connect private life, individual housing, with public life. Between the street and the house there are spaces that must have as an objective that people are not isolated from their community, reducing the unwanted isolation that is so frequent in our society.