Notes from the Director
As Director of Georgia Tech HomeLab I want to personally thank you for your interest in our research. The establishment of HomeLab marks a milestone in Georgia Tech’s research portfolio to support design of consumer products and health care devices for the growing older adult population. By the year 2030, 20% of all U.S. residents will be over the age of 65. Older adults face physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes that present innovators with opportunities to create technological solutions that can support aging in place and independence.
Our mission is to understand the needs and desires of this growing population and to assist innovative companies in meeting their goals by providing a direct connection to laboratory and in-home testing resources. Since 2011, HomeLab has been providing innovators with an independent testing facility capable of evaluating the safety, efficacy, effectiveness, usability, and accessibility of products that promote independent living. Our methods allow us to go beyond what is available through typical in-lab testing by placing products in the homes of actual users. By evaluating products in their appropriate context over an extended period, true performance characteristics emerge.
If you are an innovator and want to better understand how users interact with your product, I hope you will consider HomeLab for your product evaluation needs.
Thank you again for your interest,
Dr. Brad Fain
Director of Georgia Tech HomeLab
Since 2000, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have been working to apply testing and evaluation principles derived from years of experience developing user interface solutions for military customers to consumer product design.
The Accessibility Evaluation Methodology (AEM) was developed to facilitate the measurement of the accessibility and usability of office products such as copiers, fax machines, and computers in response to the publication of the technical requirements for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The AEM is a human performance-based assessment methodology that allows evaluators to directly compare the accessibility of similar products. This work eventually led to the development of the Accessibility Assistant, an information resource that supports the design and procurement of accessible products and services.
GTRI researchers later developed a similar test methodology for the Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis Society of Canada, Arthritis Australia, and Arthritis New Zealand and began quantifying ease of use of consumer products. Over 500 consumer products of all types have been tested for ease of use, impacting the design of products worldwide. The Ease of Use Assistant, an information resource that supports the design of easy to use consumer products and services, presents usability knowledge gleaned from several years of product testing.
GTRI’s work with users with arthritis enabled the creation of Arthritis Simulation Gloves, a tool that simulates the reduction in functional capabilities experienced by individuals with arthritis, and enables designers to gain insight into how arthritis affects a user’s interaction with products.