A Smart Garment for Active Ageing:Mapping User Requirements to Technology

WP Burns, CD Nugent, PJ McCullagh, D Finlay, I Cleland, B Altemeyer, Guido Parente, BW Scotney, SI McClean, S BENTON, J McCann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Physical exercise may be used to improve mental cognition, physicalstrength and overall dexterity within the older population. This can enhance healthand wellbeing. Walking is cited as the best exercise for persons over 60. Weoutline the development of a smart garment that allows the wearer to monitor theirwellbeing whilst harnessing technology to provide additional safety measures andfunctionality.Main Content In order to ascertain the user needs, questionnaires were designedand distributed to a target cohort of 50 hikers (aged 60 or over). Thesequestionnaires elicited user opinions and experiences with walking activities,clothing attire and technology; in addition to examining what users sought from asmart garment. A number of workshops were organized to offer users hands-onexperience with appropriate fabrics, textiles and technology. From the feedbackreceived a technology mapping exercise was performed in which viabletechnologies were mapped onto the requirements elicited.Results From this user interaction phase, themes were established: safetyenhancement, additional functionality, support for monitoring health indicatorsand increased social interaction. The technology mapping exercise facilitated thedevelopment of an initial prototype that used a Smartphone and inbuilt sensors(accelerometer, GPS) to collect and record: location and walking attributes (suchas speed, distance and altitude) all of which were fed back on an interactive map.A step count was implemented using the onboard accelerometer, to provide anindication of overall activity level. Further development will harness expertise inclothing manufacturing to create a layering system with the capability ofintegrating sensors to create a Body Area Network, to monitor and recordrequested information such as heart rate and (peripheral) body temperature. Allthis information must be assimilated in a useful and meaningful way. Hence theuser interface and interaction methods will be designed appropriate to the age andexperience of the target cohort, with elements of personalisation.Conclusion Feedback from users on the development of a smart garment hasinfluenced the initial prototype. Further technical development will be based onuser evaluation of the wearable system. Feedback from these evaluations will beused to add, amend or remove functionality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEveryday Technology for Independence and Care
EditorsG.J. Gelderblom, Mathijs Soede, Leon Adriaens, Klaus Miesenberger
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIOS Press
ISBN (Print)978-1-60750-813-7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2011


  • Keywords Ageing
  • Smart Clothing
  • Wellness
  • Activity
  • User-Centered Design


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