Friendly Rest Room: een slim toilet voor ouderen en gehandicapten

The EU funded Friendly Rest Room (FRR) project (2002-2005) was initiated in an attempt to enlarge the autonomy, independence, dignity and safety of elderly and disabled people, and thus raise their overall quality of life. The user group elderly and disabled was chosen because of the obvious problems this group encounters in the current toilet design. The general idea was though that a toilet that suits the elderly and disabled, will also suit the young and healthy.

Ten organisations and companies located in seven different European countries together formed the FRR project-consortium, guaranteeing a wide geographic and cultural coverage. Each consortium partner represents a different area of expertise and as a whole the FRR consortium offered expertise in the fields of advanced robotics, rehabilitation technology and engineering, health care informatics, applied computing, product systems and ergonomics, product design and development, geriatrics and gerontology, sociology and ethics.

Research activities and design and development activities have taken place simultaneously in this project. The research objectives can be divided into two parts; the first objective was to gather general knowledge about the problems elderly and disabled encounter in the toilet area. This knowledge then was translated into a set of design specifications gradually building up during the course of the project.

The second objective was to study whether the design solutions based on the growing design specifications were fulfilling the user needs and preferences and whether they indeed formed a solution that enabled elderly and disabled to use the toilet more safely and independently. This was done by testing several successive FRR prototype generations at 5 European test sites, the so called User Research Bases (URB). In these URBs the FRR prototypes or parts of the prototypes were tested by in total more than 230 test persons from the user group of elderly and disabled.

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