Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 137–144 | Cite as

Towards a design tool for visualizing the functional demand placed on older adults by everyday living tasks

  • A. S. MacdonaldEmail author
  • D. Loudon
  • P. J. Rowe
  • D. Samuel
  • V. Hood
  • A. C. Nicol
  • M. A. Grealy
  • B. A. Conway
Long Paper


This paper discusses the development of a design tool using data calculated from the biomechanical functional demand on joints in older adults during activities of daily living, portrayed using a visual ‘traffic-light’ system. Whole body movements of 84 older adults were analysed using a 3D motion capture system and reaction forces were measured by force platforms, and translated into a 3D software model. Although originally intended as a tool for designers, the early evaluation of this method of visualizing the data suggests that it may be of value across those involved in the professional care of older adults.


Design tool visualizing functional demand 



This work reported in this paper has been conducted in the context of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council EQUAL-funded project GR/R26856/01, researched jointly between the Bioengineering Unit at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the Department of Psychology at the University of Strathclyde, the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh, and Product Design Engineering at The Glasgow School of Art.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Macdonald
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Loudon
    • 1
  • P. J. Rowe
    • 2
  • D. Samuel
    • 2
  • V. Hood
    • 2
  • A. C. Nicol
    • 2
  • M. A. Grealy
    • 3
  • B. A. Conway
    • 2
  1. 1.Product Design EngineeringThe Glasgow School of ArtGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Bioengineering Unit, Wolfson CentreUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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