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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2017, Article ID 7439361, 15 pages
Review Article

Minding the Gap: Reconciling Human and Technical Perspectives on the IoT for Healthy Ageing

Queensland University of Technology (QUT), 2 George St., 4000 Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to Alessandro Soro; ua.ude.tuq@oros.ordnassela

Received 23 June 2017; Revised 25 September 2017; Accepted 8 October 2017; Published 12 November 2017

Academic Editor: Luigi Patrono

Copyright © 2017 Alessandro Soro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There are two distinct bodies of literature on the Internet of Things, one that derives from a technical perspective, while the other comes from a human perspective. From a technical perspective, sensors can automatically detect physical activity, thus enabling elderly people to live independently, while sensors in essence check that they are active, remind them to take their pills, and so on. From a human perspective, people seek control over their lives, good health, social connection, and a sense of well-being that comes from having purpose and feeling competent in daily routines. So are technologies meant to enable users to stay in control of their lives and manage their relations and preferred routines, or do they undermine it, making elderly people feel subjects of surveillance and incompetent, disrupting their daily arrangements? And is there a middle path that we might take in design that creates innovative technologies that are aesthetic in form and function and empowering to use? In this paper, we offer a framework and examples of designs that bridge these perspectives.