Diotto – IOT goes social

The DIOTTO-project aims to allow elderly persons living alone to retain an independent and high-quality life in their own home for longer. This is achieved by supporting and activating them in their day-to-day lives and creating peace of mind among the informal carers.

That is why this project focuses on conceptualizing and developing Internet of Things services that are based on the actual context that the elderly live in.

  • Zorgproeftuin AIPA
  • Aalst
  • Sensolus, Studio Dott, Waylay

Design-driven research

All too often, we find that technological products for the elderly are developed in a very technology-driven way. We want to change this, and that’s why in this Care Living Lab project we’re prioritizing the social context. We’re aiming for a product and/or service that is relevant to the senior, using technology to support the elderly and their social circles.

Thanks to the Care Living Lab AIPA, we were able to research the impact of various possible solutions in an elaborate and gradual way. The final result of this, ÇAVA, is a working prototype that was tested with 7 families.

Contextual analysis

In order to get full insight into the entire context, a cultural probe was divided over 50 seniors with very diverse backgrounds. Based on their answers, interviews were done with a selection of seniors to learn more about their social circles, how they relate to technology and the importance of physical products in this target group.

As a design team, we were able to use this analysis to pinpoint which values were most important. This was presented in a tangible way by developing personas and defining the design challenges.


Mixed fidelity prototyping

In order to determine the various functionalities of the final product, we set up multiple cocreation sessions with various stakeholders. During these sessions, we used 'mixed fidelity prototypes', i.e. prototypes that give the illusion of being functional but also clearly show that the product is a work in progress. Using this method of visualizing, the target groups that were involved instantly understood which concepts we were working with.

Interaction design

Based on the insights acquired during the different co-creation sessions, with end users and experts, the direction of the project result became increasingly clear. A conscious choice was made to allow digital as well as physical interaction with the product, meaning we had to take this into account in the development of the concept.

Thanks to the wide and diverse expertise within our team, we were able to create very tangible ‘hybrid’ wireframes and interaction concepts.



ÇAVA is the result of the DIoTTO research project. The product is a way of keeping in touch with the elderly in an increasingly digital world. By sharing photos and activities between seniors and family/informal carers, we create a social support system in a non-intrusive way.

ÇAVA is made up of 3 complementary components:

  • A digital photo frame
  • A timeline with daily routines and activities
  • Sensors


Thanks to ÇAVA, grandma and grandpa can be part of the social networks they previously didn’t have access to. Through the digital photo frame, they regularly receive photos and messages from family and friends, and can respond to them.

Combined with sensors strategically placed on objects that are used on a daily basis or in specific places, the family can follow up on the daily routine and any abnormalities. This creates a sense of security, without invading the elderly’s privacy.

Family & informal carers

Unfortunately, grandma or grandpa can’t always join every family outing, but with ÇAVA photos can be shared regularly. This way, they’re also part of the fun. In addition, the family doesn’t have to worry because thanks to the registered sensor data and activity on the digital photo frame, they know everything is OK!

Should anything seem out of the ordinary or deviate from the daily routine, they know they’ll instantly receive a notification.