Unlocking your Front Door Made Easy

Unlocking the door – that may sound like a simple task. All of us do it several times a day without even thinking about it. But with increasing age, everyday tasks can turn into real problems. We then lack the necessary fine motor skills to thread the key into the lock and the strength to turn it around. This is why a new locking system was developed. Lock and door handle are combined and complement each other. A recess around the lock makes it easier to thread the key in. The keyhole is turned horizontally, since it seems to be easier to insert keys this way. Instead of turning the key, pressing the handle down releases the lock. This makes the opening process much less energy consuming. The door can be locked securely by lifting the door handle upwards.

student:Emma Brix
project:urban mining – urban tooling

The Elderly on the Rise

by Emma Brix

Our western society is growing older and older. Life expectancy is rising steadily and fewer children are born. Due to these developments our life in later days will also have to change. In the future, the elderly will represent the largest population group. They can no longer be ignored.

Linus Herold is 72 years old and is already looking forward to his pension. He just has three years of work left. In his company, they have specially adapted to senior employees, a whole department here specialises in work for senior citizens. Linus no longer works in the company’s warehouse, where everything is now automated, as he did in his youth. With his colleagues, all over 60, he now coordinates the many automated processes. 
His company has specialised in the field of metal recycling. In the past decades, great progress has been made in this field. The various metals are mostly used without being glued to other materials. The different types and alloys are separated from each other by complicated sorting and recognition systems. Since only selected alloys are eligible for tax benefits, many companies refrain from using special alloys. Those who cannot do without them prefer to recycle their products themselves in integrated recycling departments. When it comes to monitoring and coordinating the sorting systems. 
Linus’ employer places particular emphasis on older people in their company. Seniors have a lot of experience in solving demanding problems and work better together than younger employees. The offices are furnished according to senior age. Linus rarely has back pain thanks to back-supporting chairs. Even the slight tremor in his fingers does not stop him from working here. Special pens are used to dampen any trembling and thus help to create an elegantly curved handwriting even in old age. Staplers and punchers are easy to operate, even from a seated position, thanks to extended levers and weighted bottoms. All screens are equipped with magnification options, and for printed text, magnifying glasses are attached to telescopic arms on each table.

In addition, the company advertises financing concepts for dental prostheses, which as a practical gimmick can also be used as a USB data storage. After successful work Linus leaves the office building. Riding a comfortable chair slide he reaches the ground floor quickly and comfortably even without an elevator. A number of self-propelled solar-powered one-person shuttle cars are waiting outside the door for him and his colleagues. They make getting to work and back really easy. Arriving at home, Linus starts to enter his small one-room apartment on the ground floor, supported by his cane. The door lock has been integrated into the door handle. This makes it easier to insert the key and eliminates the need to turn the key around. Linus can unlock his apartment door quickly and easily despite the lack of fine motor skills. In the multi-generation house where he lives, there is also a couple of around 60 and a young family with two children. They live together and often sit together in a small garden. It is a Benefit for everyone living there. Linus loves having the Children over. He tells them stories from his youth and they bring some fresh energy to his life. 
Linus takes care of his household on his own and is proud of this independence, which he wants to maintain as long as possible. The chances are good, because the furnishing of his home was also designed with older people in mind. Linus goes into the kitchen, the furniture there offers handles to hold on to. The cupboards and shelves are all easily accessible and Linus takes one of the particularly handy drinking cups from the shelf. The entire apartment has been designed without thresholds. So every angle is accessible even with a rollator. Linus is still very mobile and only needs his cane to help. To pick things up from the ground, he has a small gripper arm that turns every fallen sock into a fishing game. So in the next years Linus can live his everyday life without further support. Even after retirement he will still be able to spend many beautiful years in his home.