Never too old: Engaging retired people inventing the future with MaKey MaKey

Yvonne Rogers, J Paay, M Brereton, K Vaisutis, G Marsden, F Vetere
in Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, Conference paper (text)


Within HCI, aging is often viewed in terms of designing assistive technologies to improve the lives of older people, such as those who are suffering from frailty or memory loss. Our research adopts a very different approach, reframing the relationship in terms of wisdom, creativity and invention. We ran a series of workshops where groups of retirees, aged between early 60s and late 80s, used the MaKey MaKey inventor's toolkit. We asked them to think about inventing the future and suggest ideas for new technologies. Our findings showed that they not only rose to the challenge but also mastered the technology, collaborated intensely together while using it and freely and at length discussed their own, their family's and others' relationship with technology. We discuss the value of empowering people in this way and consider what else could be invented to enable more people to be involved in the design and use of creative technologies.