In a just recently approved research project, the TU Ilmenau will develop state-of-the-art methods enabling elderly people to have contact with familiar people from far away in their home environment. These persons (relatives or friends, but also medical and nursing staff) will be "projected" into the environment as if they were on site themselves using novel technical methods, especially robotics and augmented reality. The project is entitled CO-HUMANICS (Co-Presence of Humans and Interactive Companions for Seniors) and is being supported by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung with up to 4.5 million euros over the next five years. A total of five TU Ilmenau research groups will be involved, including two from the Department of Economic Sciences and Media.
The Research Group Media Psychology and Media Design is involved in this project with two full doctoral students positions and will be particularly concerned with the social scientific evaluation. This is due to the fact that technical solutions have to be developed and improved step by step in a human-centered design process according to the wishes of the senior citizens. Using a multi-method approach, it will be systematically researched how senior citizens experience the use of the new technologies and what effects result (e.g. reduction of loneliness).