Last week, RogLab Open’s Active Aging workshop took place in Ljubljana, connecting a number of makers and designers of various ages and backgrounds from around the world. RogLab, Slovenia’s first maker lab, organised the project in collaboration with the Centre for Creativity under the auspices of the Museum of Architecture, Ljubljana (MAO), along with partners, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and the International Centre for Graphic Arts. The winning prototype of this year’s workshop, the Intergenerational Playground Toy, is designed and made by André Vanzolin from fablab Feb360° from Brazil, which will, along with the other prototypes who share second place, be presented at the exhibition at Ljubljana’s Švicarija centre in October.
The authors whose projects most impressed the selection committee have honed their ideas with local mentors and other specialists, tested out their initial prototypes and, together with Mojca Mihajlovič Škrinjar, implemented new lessons in design thinking, business model development and market placement.
The workshop began with Barbara Goričan and Mateja Slapnik, representatives of the Slovene Philanthropy, who helped our participants understand various health issues that the older generation experiences. Empathetic thinking helped participants to take into account various adaptations of their initial project proposals into objects the elderly can use to their full advantage.
Alenka Plemelj, professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences specialising in functional therapy and ergonomics, made sure that the prototypes meet various guidelines of best practices. For instance, she drew the makers’ attention to decreased muscle strength, deterioration of fine motor skills and the senses, as well as joint mobility and related issues with one’s reach. Volunteers Milena Dimec and Uroš Stanič tested out all the prototypes and gave additional advice to authors with their ideas for improvements.
Among the thirty selected project ideas four prototypes were created. Ina Nathalie Bölsing, Kaja Čufer, Tajda Dražić and Katarina Ekart, first year students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, together with their mentor Alenka More, designed classically tailored clothes with adaptations for an easier use for the older generation. The retired entrepreneur Dušan Uršič developed his idea for a less strenuous staircase into additions for steps with anti-slip surfaces for a safer use. Maker Eamon Durey from fablab Nerve Centre from Northern Ireland created a hydroponic garden for all those who would love to tend their own, but health or circumstances don’t permit them to - his design is wheelchair accessible and easy to use. André Vanzolin’s prototype is an interactive game for one or more users, that helps train concentration and coordination and presents a fun challenge for people of all ages and a range of physical and cognitive abilities.
The final prototypes will be on show in October at Ljubljana’s Švicarija creative centre.
Part of the partner network of the Center for Creativity, this project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Slovenia.