Arlene Astell

For the last 20 years I have been working with older adults to create and evaluate technologies. This started with CIRCA, a conversation support for people with dementia and caregivers, followed by Living in the Moment touchscreen games developed with people with dementia. NANA (Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Aging) was co-created with over 400 older adults to monitor daily food, mood, cognition and physical activity. AAL-WELL examined technology needs of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, while THAW (Technology for Healthy Ageing and Wellbeing) explored applications of technology for late-life mental health. COBALT looked at obstacles and barriers to older adults adopting technology and DataDay is co-creating a self-care app with people with dementia. All of these experiences have been drawn together in TUNGSTEN tools to share my experience of working with older adults from technology concept to deployment.

Research Interests
  • Creating interventions to support people to live and age as well as possible
  • Using technology to support cognitive function and good mental health in later life
  • Understanding the impact of dementia on communication, personal relationships and social interaction
  • Ontario Shores Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
  • Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Sciences and Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • Collaborator Scientist, CAMH, Toronto, Canada
  • Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Full Professor, Berkshire Memory & Cognition Research Centre, University of Reading, UK
  • Honorary Professor, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews, UK

Deborah Fels

Deborah Fels is the director of Inclusive Media and Design Centre (IMDC) and Professor in the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, both at Ryerson University and a professional Engineer. She has been working with older adults and people with disabilities to develop inclusive media and technologies for them that result in experiences that are pleasurable and flourishing. Her work focusses on uunderstanding the impact of these technologies on an individual’s ability to achieve their goals, complete desired tasks and enjoy their life.

Research Interests
  • Assessment of subjective closed caption quality involving a deep neural network and signal detection theory;
  • Audio description including software tool, LiveDescribe and LiveDescribe Web;
  • MyHealthMyRecord, an accessible and sharable health tracking tool using AI techniques;
  • Sensory substitution techniques for access to sound and visual information including creation of a vibrotactile system called the Emoti-chair, a vibrotactile music facility, the VibroFusionLab and a robotic system, WebMoti, for supporting autistic children in school;
  • Mixed-reality gaming for older adults;
  • Needs analysis methods using a system called NICKEL that are inclusive of older adults; and gamification in education.