Wendy A. Rogers, PhD

Professor of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology

Presentation 1: Designing for an Aging Population 

Why design for aging?  More and more consumers and users of technology products are joining the ranks of “older adult.” Currently, people older than 65 represent more than 13% of the population in the United States. These numbers are projected to increase and such demographic trends bring changes in the demands for products and services. Addressing those demands is not just the role of technology; but more importantly, it is the role of those who determine how the technology should function.  That is, designers hold the key in many instances by not only increasing market share for a given product but by increasing the quality of older adults’ lives. In the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory, we take a human factors approach to improving technology design and instruction for older adults. This presentation would provide a primer on the issues that must be considered when designing systems, products, environments, and instructional materials for older adults. Topics of discussion include aging demographics, older adults’ capabilities and limitations, design guidelines, involving older adults in the design process, training/instruction, and technology acceptance. Contexts for the discussion will include aging-in-place and health care.

Presentation 2: Human-Robot Interaction: The Potential to Support Successful Aging

GATSBII caption 150 px.pngPhilips iCat.pngThere is much potential for robots to support older adults in their goal of independent aging. However, for human-robot interactions to be successful, the robots must be designed with user needs in mind.

In the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory, Roger's lab is conducting research in the nascent field of older adult–robot interactions. In this presentation, Rogers will provide an overview of the needs, capabilities, preferences, and limitations of older adults. She will then discuss our current and planned research on the design of robots to support older adults and health care providers. Our focus is on understanding the interactions among user characteristics, robot characteristics, and the context of the interactions (e.g., task demands).

Presentation 3: Aware Home Technology to Support Aging-in-Place

Aware Home at Georgia Tech.pngImagine if your home were “aware” of your activities so that it might help you remember what it was you went into the kitchen for or whether the visitor at the front door is someone you know or even what the proper procedure is for performing a recently learned home medical procedure. An aware home is not from the world of science fiction—it is within the realm of science. Such technological developments have the potential to enable older adults to maintain their functional independence and to “age-in-place.” They also have the potential to support families caring for children with developmental disabilities or individuals recovering from illness or injury. An innovative research program at Georgia Institute of Technology is focused on developing psychological and computer science to support home activities.  

The presentation will include examples of health care technology, communication technology, and memory supports. These examples demonstrate the complexity of the issues involved in designing the computationally capable home of the future and provide direction for future research and development efforts.

Speaker Background:
Rogers is Professor in the School of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology.  She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, and her M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1991) from Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to returning to Georgia Tech for her current position, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Memphis (1991-1994) and the University of Georgia (1994-1998). Her research interests include design for aging; technology acceptance; human-automation interaction; aging-in-place; human-robot interaction; cognitive aging; and skill acquisition and training. 

She is Director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory, which is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) as part of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement.  Research support has also been received from Deere & Company, Humana, and Willow Garage. Rogers is an active member of the Aware Home Research Initiative, which has received funding from the National Science Foundation. 

Rogers is a Certified Human Factors Professional (BCPE Certificate #1539).  She has published extensively in human factors, skill acquisition, and cognitive aging. She is a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and the American Psychological Association (APA). She is currently editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.