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UTOPIA Projects

Utopia is formed from groups from four universities, each of which comes to Utopia with different areas of expertise. They therefore concentrate their efforts on different types of needs and technology. This page describes some of the sub-projects that Glasgow is focussing on. Information about other projects can be found on the main Utopia site.







Multi-modal Interaction group (Mig)

Glasgow Interactive Systems Group (GIST) logo - 
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Here at Glasgow we are interested in supporting older people on the move, thus building on past experiences in multi-modal interfaces, applications for the blind and mobile technology.

Navigation Aids

We are particularly interested in developing handheld devices to help older people find their way around. We hope that these can also be extended in the future to provide other help that is useful when on the move. For example, such an aid could provide enhanced information about the user's surroundings or provide help with memory by reminding the user of events, appointments and things that he or she meant to do.

We have developed a prototype device, which provides navigation assistance by guiding the user along a route using a series of landmarks. We have tested this against a paper map with groups of older and younger adults and found that it increases navigation performance, particularly for older users. Further investigations looked at the contribution of different modalities (text, speech, photographs) to the aid's success.

More information can be found in some of our papers

Handheld Interface Design

When developing such handheld devices for older people, it is important to consider how the information is presented. As well as investigating this in the context of the navigation aid (see above), we are interested in more general handheld interface design for older people.

We are currently investigating the use of text on handheld computers and hope to produce some guidelines on how it can be used most effectively.


We developed and distributed a questionnaire about technology, lifestyle and older people to 353 participants in Scotland. Some of the results from this can be found in the following papers,