Innovation That Matters

For seniors, web-connected computer looks like a side table


webnapperon is a simplified computer set up as a piece of traditional home décor that helps elderly users keep in contact with friends and family.

Older people can be overwhelmed – or simply disengaged – with new technologies, and we’ve already seen Belgium’s CareSquare provide a more user-friendly interface for the elderly. Now a new platform, called webnapperon, wants to integrate social tech more seamlessly into the lives of seniors by designing a simplified computer setup as a traditional home side table.

The device consists of a picture frame that acts as a display, and a doily that is used to interact with the computer. Underneath the doily is an RFID reader and friends and family can create their own RFID tags that link to specific content on the web. When the tagged item is placed on the doily, the relevant content is displayed on the photo frame. This enables older people to connect physical objects with the online content. For example, relatives could send a greetings card or letter with a tag that links to a set of photos or a blog post, or a portrait of a family member could be used to launch their Twitter feed. A telephone connected to the system can also accept Skype phonecalls, with video displayed on the picture frame. The video below explains – in French – more about how the system works:


The webnapperon could relieve the stress of having to operate a computer for older people by using objects they are familiar with as controls. Are there other ways technology can be redesigned to cater for users unfamiliar with popular digital formats?

Spotted by: Alexia Maury



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