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New Center

May 2009 : 4months / Client Bayer Material Science / Design Research Lead Bayer Material Science came to us and asked us to look at global trends and design a concept for a decade into the future using their materials. My team and I were interested in aging and healthcare. After user research we decided our goal was to create a positive notion of aging into the later years by addressing combinations of the mental, physical, and social needs. With its underlying healthcare component in each of it’s respective rooms, the New Center assists its members to maintain and strengthen their abilities in a stimulating experience.

Skills Applied

User Research & Interviewing, Make tools (Velcro modeling & Role-Playing), Lead brainstorming sessions, Idea Generation, Sketching & Storyboarding, Concept Development, Video Sketch Production

New Center

Where we went

Observed 3 different senior centers that had a diverse range in living styles from those with dementia to those living independently (Anathan House, Mt. Washington, & South Side Senior Centers)

Who we talked to

  • 2 directors: the Anathan House & the South Side Senior Center
  • 1 expert on aging
  • 1 head nurse from Seymour Adult Day Care
  • 1 director from Seymour Adult Day Care
  • elders in pittsburgh ranging from 60-90 years old

New Center


Puppets were used as a make tool to get participants to put themselves in the persona of either a doctor, caretaker, or themselves. This facilitated our research since with this make tool, elders acted out how they felt a persona would interact, communicating to us directly about what they think about these people or a certain scenario.

New Center

Through talking with expert caretakers and elders themselves we discovered many needs and challenges that elders face both immediately and long-term. We realized there is a stigma that comes with senior centers and most seemed to be targeted for low-income residents. This diagram displays the opportunity for improvement in the existing senior centers.

New Center


After completing our research and identifying the main user needs, we aimed to produce an idea that incorporated technology to provide physical activity, mental stimulation, and socialization among elders. We started with several brainstorming sessions before transgressing into sketching concepts.

  • Brainwriting was used to trigger ideas from others’ ideas
  • External group brainstorming with props was used to broaden our scope
  • Focus on health monitoring was emphasized

New Center

Exercise Room

  • Keeps track of one’s physical abilities
  • Provides custom exercise movements that are appropriate for each individual
  • Allows doctors to see one’s problem areas which can be addressed before a condition worsens and evolves into a larger issue
  • Permits doctors to input exercises they see fit into the system

New Center


Interactive touchscreen table
  • Displays nutrition information along with a personal health profile
  • Reveals alerts or reminders of healthy dieting from patient’s doctor
  • Presents exercise progression

New Center

Leisure & Entertainment Room

  • Socially engages users to walk, jog, and spend time together
  • Allows users to view and “travel” to anywhere they want in the world
  • Provides a whole new mind and body experience that allows users to “get away”
  • Enables users to absorb different cultures and broaden their horizons
  • Keeps track of users’ endurance and speed records for healthcare check-up’s if need be

New Center


Lounge chair
  • Monitors health conditions and send data to doctor
  • Provide custom massages for relaxation