Augmenting Elders: AR Workshops with the Elderly

Augmenting Elders is an ongoing AwhiWorld collaboration with seniors and staff at Elmwood, a retirement village in Manurewa, South Auckland. It involves a number of events and projects which bring traditional craft together with emerging technology.

Project 1:  I used the mixed reality ‘Love Creatures’ app and ‘Wandering Creatures’ apps to help the elders learn about this technology. Digital creatures were enhanced and changed by residents in a special workshop that converted physical templates to digital content. Once the creatures had new skins they were placed around the rest home for residents to enjoy via their own, or staff, mobile devices. I created a bespoke app with the special designs allowing the residents to adopt their own creature via their own ready-made application.


Project 2:  A Mad Hatter Maker Workshop conducted in collaboration with Diversional (Occupational) Therapy staff. I created a new mobile app called Awhi_Flora which was tested during the workshop. Awhi Flora brings interdimensional flowers to life on their own individual seed heads. The designs for the flowers emerged from research into NZ native flowers and seeds.
The first day of the workshop involved residents colouring in seed markers, creating interdimensional flower sounds using my tablet, and making mad hats.


 On the second day in the afternoon they had a parade of the hats with the augmented sounds and images showing on a big screen.

The workshop gave me valuable feedback on the app so I could develop the designs further, and the residents had some fun working with technologies not otherwise available to them (or even the general public). A great win/win.

Project 3:  Augmented Dressmaking. This was a longer term collaboration with residents and staff to design a World of Wearable Art Dress for the rest homes ‘alternative’ exhibition/runway. This latter project was a true partnership between creatives bringing together traditional dress design and emerging technology.