What is the TUNGSTEN project?

TUNGSTEN is an AGE-WELL core project providing researchers, developers, innovators and service providers with new tools and techniques for communicating with older adults about technology.

Where did the TUNGSTEN workshops come from?

TUNGSTEN tools are the product of a number of projects with older adults, co-inventing and investigating technology. Some of the older adults were living with dementia and we wanted to find creative ways of empowering them to share their ideas. We then extended these techniques to work with other groups of older adults who were interested in technology. Lots of people have been involved in developing, testing and refining what we now know as the TUNGSTEN tools.

View Previous Projects
  • THAW (Technology for Healthy Ageing and Wellbeing) (2014-2017) THAW examined the potential of technology for assessing late life mood disorders, tackling loneliness and social isolation and delivering therapy to older adults. THAW team: Arlene Astell, Jake Andrews, Matt Bennion & Dave Clayton.
  • COBALT (Challenging Obstacles and Barriers to Assistive Living Technologies (2011-2013) COBALT took the experiences from CIRCA, LIM and NANA and formalised them into prototype tools for working with older adults and technology. COBALT team: Arlene Astell, Faustina Hwang, Maggie Ellis, Sarah Harney-Levine, Matt Norton, Liz Williams & Dave Wright.
  • NANA (Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing) (2009-2013) NANA is an interactive touchscreen system for older adults to record their food and drink, mood, physical and activity and cognitive function at home on a daily basis. NANA team: Arlene Astell, Tim Adlam, Laura Brown, Sarah Forster, Alan Godfrey, Faustina Hwang, Hassan Khadra, Lin MacLean, Tom Smith, Claire Timon, & Liz Williams.
  • Living in the Moment (LIM) (2004-2007) LIM is a set of interactive touchscreen games developed with people who have dementia to play independently. Living in the Moment team: Arlene Astell, Norman Alm, Richard Dye, Maggie Ellis, Gary Gowans & Philip Vaughan.
  • CIRCA (Computer Interactive Reminiscence and Conversation Aid) 2001-2004 CIRCA is an interactive touchscreen system that supports conversation between people with dementia and caregivers. The CIRCA team: Arlene Astell, Norman Alm, Jim Campbell, Richard Dye, Maggie Ellis & Gary Gowans.


Shital Desai
Shital obtained her PhD degree in Interaction Design in 2017 from Queensland University of Technology, Australia and has been working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Science since January 2018. Her research involves developing solutions and interventions in Engineering, healthcare and design using Design Research methods. She develops novel participatory Human Centred design methodologies and techniques for working with varied user groups such as children and older adults. Shital is a Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) from Human Factors International (HFI). She is AGE-WELL HQP and a certified AGE-WELL ‘Innovators of Future’. She is a TUNGSTEN workshop facilitator.

Erica Dove
Erica obtained her BHSc (Hons) degree in Kinesiology in 2015 and has been working as a Research Assistant at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences since 2016. Her research interests focus on the creative application of technology to support people to live well with dementia and other conditions related to aging (e.g. mobility impairments). Erica is an AGE-WELL HQP and TUNGSTEN Workshop Facilitator.

Raluca A. Morariu
Raluca obtained her BSc degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently AGE-WELL Work Package 1 Coordinator and Lab Coordinator in Dr. Arlene Astell’s Lab located within the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Canada). Raluca has worked in various labs at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Her current interests focus on project, resource, cost and risk management and she is responsible for coordinating TUNGSTEN workshops.