Author: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2014-04-25); recommendation: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2014-04-25).
Note: This paper was presented in The 9th World Conference of the
International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG 2014), Taipei, Taiwan, 2014/06. Gerontechnology
Welcome to ISG 2014 in Taiwan
It is our great
pleasure to welcome you to the 9th World Conference of the International
Society for Gerontechnology, ISG 2014 in Taiwan!
As a professor
in mechanical engineering, I was asked this question many times: “How did you
get involved in gerontechnology?” I prefer to see myself as a mechanical
designer. For me, gerontechnology is actually a design field. I love this
definition by the International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG):
“Gerontechnology: designing technology and environment for independent living
and social participation of older persons in good health, comfort and safety.”
tasks in industry often focus on designing components or systems to meet
certain technical specifications, gerontechnology emphasizes a lot more on designing
for people. People are of great diversity. Gerontechnology product/service
design requires a much broader view than technology alone.
the users, the changes in physical and psychological conditions, the
interaction with the environment, as well as understanding the cultural and
social differences, providing that internal motivation for the older adults and
their caregivers to use the gerontechnology product/service, are all important
design tasks, before any technology is even considered.
With the main
theme ‘Cultural and Social Differences in Gerontechnology’, I am happy to see
that ISG 2014 is not a pure technical conference. Roughly half of the papers in
ISG 2014 present research from gerontology, social sciences and even business prospective,
with implications on the design needs of gerontechnology products/services.
gerontechnology product/service designs are often need-driven rather than
technology-driven. ISG conferences and journals have a long tradition of using
needs of older adults rather than technological fields to classify tracks of
the papers. In ISG 2014, we maintain the five tracks in the previous ISG
conferences, including health & self-esteem, housing & daily
activities, communication & governance, mobility & transport, work
& leisure, as well as a special track for ISG Sinophone Chapter dedicated
to the current issues and development of gerontechnology in the Sinophone
World. In this arrangement of tracks, ISG 2014 provides a great opportunity of
part in gerontechnology is also interdisciplinary in nature. In the paper
‘Gerontechnology in perspective’ published in the Gerontechnology Journal back
in 2007, Bouma, Fozard, Bouwhuis and Taipale listed the disciplines of related
technology: Chemistry and biochemistry, architecture and building,
communication and information, mechatronics and robotics, design and
ergonomics, and business management. I particularly like the following
statement in the paper: “Management science has established itself as an
indispensable enabling discipline to bring the fruits of technology to the
global market place, and ensuring that the products, services, and
infrastructures are realized”.
gerontechnology is not just about academic research. Gerontechnology research
is only valuable if it can be realized into products or services that benefit
older persons and their caregivers.
In addition to
keynote speeches, symposia and regular oral sessions, ISG conferences have two
special types of presentations emphasizing on the realization of
gerontechnology research into products/services. “Leading Edge Technologies” is
designed for interactive demonstrations of the well-tested prototypes of
products or services, while “GeronTechno Platform” features demonstrations of
newly-developed products with target end-users through interactive exhibitions.
Besides, ISG 2014 is held along with SenCARE (Taiwan International Senior
Lifestyle and Health Care Show) and MEDICARE (Taiwan International Medical
& Healthcare Exhibition), the two major annual trade fairs in related
fields organized by Taiwan External Trade Development Council, which opens the
doors to audience from the industry.
In the long
process of preparing for ISG 2014, I often imagine this event as the “Olympics”
in the field of Gerontechnology -- sharing, exchange, growing, and maybe some
competition. With that thought, I am proud to present to you this conference
issue of Gerontechnology, which represents the state-of the-art of the field of
gerontechnology in 2014.