The research was conducted as part of an initiative called, "Silver Economy", launched in 2013 by the French government. This technical approach came after a period of observations and real life data collected under the supervision of anthropologist Christine Stuzmann.
The workshop was a good opportunity for students to learn about the "Internet of Things" and communication techniques that combine programmable and connected electronic devices with everyday objects. Some examples of these technologies are found in RFID enabled subway cards and mobile phones.
The participants were introduced to coding techniques in order to imagine, create or hack objects using these techniques. Furthermore, students were invited to think of the implications and the meaning of such devices in society, and most importantly, on the implications of collecting personal data in relation to privacy.
The eleven students were divided into four groups. They worked mainly with Arduino and appropriate hardware extension such as shields along with custom built software. They decided to work on prototypes that could be implemented on existing technologies which can be found in present day retirement homes.
Two groups (Julien, Oussama & Fatou, Pierre & Alexis) worked on a prototype that would facilitate staff administration tasks. The prototype consisted in collecting and organising data online to manage daily visits to the retirement home.
Ludivine, Clemence and Samuel worked on a more social application that allowed visitors, whether external or internal, to leave a digital footprint of their presence in rooms using portable RFID tags.
Elsa, Alice and Jonathan developed an "intelligent" device that could adjust settings such as temperature or brightness in a room to create the right atmosphere for senior citizens.