HKUST “Design Thinking” Students Develop “MemoTV” to Help Elderly Revive Their Old Memories
The elderly were all smiles on catching the sounds and images of their past. [Download Photo]
An antique TV set inspired many elderly people to travel far down memory lane and relive the fond moments of their youth.
Called “MemoTV” as it elicits people’s memories of past decades, the TV set was one of the designs originated from the “Design Thinking” course organized by the School of Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
Prof Ravindra Goonetilleke from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Logistics Management said, “Modern technology has gone a long way in keeping the elderly physically safe and healthy, but there is still a gap to fill when it comes to keeping them happy and excited, and enabling them to stay smart longer. So the MemoTV project was designed to bridge this gap.”
“One of the special elements of this course is that students from different academic disciplines as well as diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds are brought together into a vigorous environment where they have to communicate, collaborate, and to create. This is what a lecture-based program cannot offer.”
Urvil Sheth, a Year 3 Mechanical Engineering student at HKUST, said, “We did a lot of research into what the elderly want and we decided on the MemoTV idea. We also made a hard effort to collect sounds and images of Hong Kong over the past century. We were overjoyed to see that the elderly were really excited when they saw and heard what they had once experienced but had nearly forgotten.”
The one-month Design Thinking course was first introduced in 2013, in collaboration with the China Academy of Art (CAA), in Hangzhou, China. Each year, there were about 40 students – about half from HKUST’s engineering, science, business and humanities disciplines, and the other half from the CAA.
The first two weeks were held on the CAA campus in Hangzhou, while the following fortnight was held at HKUST. The participants were divided into groups of four, comprising students from different backgrounds. At the end of the course, each team was required to present the innovative products they have designed and produced, based on which their grades were given.
One of the elderly who watched the MemoTV said, “We really appreciate this product. It brings us back to the days when we were young, so we can relive our youth. When we watch MemoTV as a group, we will have lots of reminiscences to share, and can even crack jokes at one another.”