Due to age-related physical restrictions, older adults often loose mobility and tend to suffer from social exclusion or the feeling of loneliness. Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer possibilities to get in contact with communities, family, and friends and thus are especially promising for this specific user group.
Within the European research project Connected Vitality, we developed together with a multidisciplinary team of researchers a tele-presence system that aims at providing a possibility for older adults to be active together with others. Through the special arrangement of two screens, the communication partner appears almost life-sized and provoke social presence, the feeling of “being together” within a remote communication.
We started our research with investigating the role of non-verbal cues (e.g., gestures) and the role eye contact to facilitate social presence. Moreover, we focused on potential end users’ experience of social presence and explored the potential of the system to support them in taking part in social life.