Irish company invests €1.5m in smart tablet for older people
An Irish company has invested €1.5 million to develop Acorn, Ireland’s first smart tablet created specifically for older people.
The age-friendly device was designed to make going online more accessible for those that are new to digital technology. Developed by Cliffrun Media, the tablet has a dedicated help section with more than 30 tutorial videos so users can familiarise themselves with the features. According to the company, Acorn is easy to navigate and uses clear, uncluttered displays.
It supports audio/video calls, messaging and email, while its integrated mobile data SIM enables internet access on the go. Plus, family, friends and carers can stay in touch by downloading the companion app on their own mobile device.
“Smart devices have fundamentally changed how people interact and communicate,” said Philip Hogan, CEO and creator of Acorn. “They help us build and maintain social networks, access news, and shop online. But these products are often not designed with older people in mind, making it difficult for them to access this wealth of information, and also increasing the risk of social exclusion and loneliness.
Acorn has been trialled and tested on a pilot study carried out among 95 participants. Led by Age Friendly Ireland, the study showed that Acorn increased daily use of the smart tablet; daily usage was common for 70% of participants. When the study was independently reviewed by NUI Maynooth, it found that Acorn significantly decreased computer anxiety.
Hogan said Acorn will “significantly impact positively on the health and well-being of older adults living in urban and rural communities, allowing them to fully participate in our increasingly digital society.”