Grey but Mobile

Enhanced Care Service through Improved Mobility for Elderly People (Grey But Mobile) was about improving care-related mobility services for the elderly supporting independent living and social connectivity. Importantly, the quantitative and qualitative effects of these proposed services have contributed to the improved health of the elderly as well as to the economic efficiency of care.

Today, elderly live in their homes longer, predominantly because of improved home care. For reasons of efficiency and costs, this is considered a good development, but it has a downside too. Elderly often live alone and solitude is regarded to be a main cause of health problems. Keeping elderly socially connected and involved, requires them to remain mobile. However, current mobility solutions do not cater specifically for this group.

Mobile-care projects are currently being initiated in the context of the organization of services. A major constraint is the availability of dedicated vehicle-designs and interfaces between services and the means of mobility. A new class of vehicles is envisaged that will specifically relate to the needs of this age group: mobile solutions that will match the environmental, physical, mental and societal needs of the elderly.

What questions were answered?
Teams from 3 universities and Industry partners were working together to answer the questions:

What role does mobility play in the social integration of the elderly and what are their physical mobility needs?
What artefacts are currently available for the mobility of the elderly, which functions do they fulfil, and what is their quality?
How does the service structure for the elderly currently function and what are the constraints?
What PSS solutions can be developed to address the findings?
How can technology be utilized to improve elderly mobility?
What will the effect of these solutions (PSS)  be on the elderly, themselves?

What have the teams achieved?
We have generate a body of knowledge to be used by the creative industry to develop a new range of mobility solutions. Designs, models prototypes were built and tested in natural environments to demonstrate feasibility of these emerging concepts. Additionally, disseminated information to national and international parties involved in this new field of sustainable mobility,

Timeframe and communication:
Grey But Mobile started in 2011 and finished in 2015. Throughout the project, we have published doctoral theses, articles in journals and conference proceedings. We have translated findings into value propositions for care-providers’ clients. Knowledge gained will be integrated into university and professional educational programmes. Progress will be published via this website and explored in workshops.

Who was involved?
Scientific partners: Twente University, Eindhoven University of Technology and the Design Academy Eindhoven;
Industry partners: Roessing Research,Tellens groep, Trivium Meulenbelt Zorg, Zuidzorg, De Loft, Indes, Arriva, Connexxion, Divaco, Waaijenberg.

Project leaders
dr. Lu Yuan, Eindhoven University of Technology
Ir. Marc Beusenberg, Twente University


  • Metaphors as a common language for empathic conversations in collaborative networks Daam, H.L; Gestel, M. van; Raijmakers, Based on extensive experience with collaborative workshops in the Grey But Mobile project, this paper explores how metaphors can play a role to gather empathic knowledge, and suggests a workshop programme to prototype such use of metaphors. Download
  • Most advanced yet acceptable, but don’t forget Baha, S.E., Lu, Y., Brombacher, A.C., Mensvoort, K.M. van. This paper focuses on addressing market uncertainty and argue that this uncertainty is affected by the meaningfulness of radical product and/or service innovations due to meaning gaps created during the innovation process Download
  • Retracing an evolution of meanings for design-driven innovation Baha, S.E., Snelders, H.M.J.J., Lu, Y. & Brombacher, A.C. This paper explores how to enrich design-driven innovation by considering the dynamic nature of such innovation as a result of history and evolution.  Download
  • Demand Responsive Transport as a Social Innovation: The Case of Skewiel Mobiel Schotman, H. and Ludden, G.D.S. This paper discusses how a demand responsive transport system, set-up as a social innovation, improves social connectedness, instead of delivering mobility alone.  Download
  • Ambulatory mobility and physical activity monitoring of elderly; a pilot study S.T. Boerema, M.M.R. Vollenbroek-Hutten, H.J. Hermen a method to objectively monitor mobility and physical activity of elderly using ambulatory wireless technology during daily living, and studied the monitored physical activity compared to a sedentary population of healthy office workers Download
  • Let's move together! Towards a social, mobile city Geel, L. van, Dols, S., Lu, Y.  This concept aims to make public transportation more accessible for elderly. IRIS calls for volunteering actions of a community of people to help elderly to travel by bus, without having to defer from their own trip.   Download
  • Using social media for asynchronous collaboration within collaborative networks. Sturkenboom, N., Baha, S.E., Lu, Y. & Tempesta, G Instagram as a ‘ready-made’ social media platform within two collaborative network project case studies. This was done to experiment with asynchronous collaboration and knowledge sharing in addition to design workshops Download
  • Path of Life in mixed reality Vissers, M., Wang, F., Baha, E., Hu, J & Rauterberg, M. . This paper presents a new direction of research in cultural computing: symbolic cultural heritage Download
  • Experience sampling and physical activity measurements to improve workday satisfaction. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement Boerema, S. T., Evers, M., Vollenbroek-Hutten, M. H. M., & Hermens, H. J This paper developed an experience sampling method smartphone app and integrated this with a monitoring app of physical activity patterns using the Promove3D activity sensor Download
  • Monitoring and Improving Mobility of the Elderly. Text is still confidential--

    Describes thesis of Simone Boerema

    Presented at the 8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, Oldenburg, Germany.
  • Value-based design for the elderly: An application in the field of mobility devices. Boerema, S. T., Van Velsen, L., Vollenbroek-Hutten, M. H. M., & Hermens, H. J. This paper is still under review, the content is therefore to remain confidential.
  • To go where no old person has gone before: value-based design of mobility innovations for aging well. S.T. Boerema, L van Velsen, M.H.M Vollenbroek-Hutten, H.J. Hermens To study personal values of solitary living, community
    dwelling older adults, and how mobility barriers and
    facilitators affect their ability to life to their values.
  • Monitoring and improving mobility of the elderly. (Presented at the ISG Masterclass on Gerontechnology, Nice, France) Boerema, S. T., & Hermens, H. J In order to design mobility innovations for elderly people, we applied a value-driven approach and 

    conducted 10 in-depth interviews with solitary living, community-dwelling elderly in The Netherlands.
  • User acceptance in a changing context: why some product-service systems do not suffer acceptance. Schotman, H. and Ludden, G.D.S. Various measures are put forward to improve acceptance, but not all measures focus on changing user habits. This paper argues that PSSs can be more powerful in gaining user acceptance when they are designed to address lost habits, owing to unwillingly changed behaviour. Download
  • Rapport Inventarisatie Potentiële Gebruikers Belbus Results of a market potential studie for Belbus Download
  • Graphical representation of quantitative data Skewiel Mobiel 1 type of transport

    obtained from November 2012 until December 2013
  • Graphical representation of quantitative data Skewiel Mobiel 2 Destinations

    obtained from November 2012 until December 2013
  • Onderzoek Skewiel Mobiel Mobiliteit, verkeersveiligheid en participatie Download
  • Optimalisatie duurzaam vervoer mobiliteit ouderen in de regio Trynwâlden Download
  • Het activiteitenpatroon van kantoorwerkers Selderhuis, A. Bachelor Thesis Biomedical Engineering, University of Twente. Download
  • Meetmethode voor bepaling van mobiliteit van ouderen. Iedema, H. Download
  • A model of lost habits: towards a strategy to improve the acceptance of product service systems Schotman, H; Ludden, G.D.S This paper we will propose that habits can be used in the design process, for which the term "lost habits" is introduced. When people lose habits due to undesired events, they may be very motivated to accept something that is instrumental to restore their habits. A PSS that addresses these so-called lost habits, might therefore be successfully accepted. Download
  • Designers initiating open innovation with multi-stakeholder through co-reflection sessions. Tomico Plasencia, O., Lu, Y., Baha, S.E., Lehto, P. & Hivikoski, T. Download


  • Renault Twizy

    An electric, three-vehicle mobility fleet (one car, two scooters) to support the mobility of employees and to analyse EV use situations.
  • Aevus

    Experimental study to implementation of Skewiel Mobiel in another environment
  • Belbus Wommels

    A service with electrics vehicles that is up-and-running, a true PSS testbed.
  • Belbus Weidum

    Iterations of the Skewiel Mobiel mobility service.
  • Skewiel Mobiel

    Mobility PSS with high social value for elderly. Supports in short distance trips.
  • Vantage Point

    Vantage point introduces an independent social media platform for collaborative knowledge sharing for all involved parties. This supports designers to probe the different viewpoints of stakeholders and collaboratively find innovative solutions by accumulating the shared knowledge.
  • Eindhoven OpStap

    Op Stap! is a PSS stimulating elderly to use public transport, which provides a meaningful strategy to ease the transition towards the OV-chipcard.
  • Zuidzorg MOCA

    MOCA is a tablet application that will motivate fragile elderly to join the activities in the facility center of Bladel.
  • IRIS Travel planner

    Iris aims to make public transportation more accessible for elderly. IRIS calls for volunteering actions of a community of people to help elderly to travel by bus, without having to defer from their own trip.
  • Multifunctionele rollator

    Three graphical designs of mobility devices as created by Indes in a joint design effort with RRD and TMZ, were shown in the workshop as described in the journal article Boerema et al. (2015; in review) and were used in the course of Miriam Vollenbroek at the University of Twente (UT). 
  • Activity Monitoring System

    RRD has created several iterations of the physical activity monitoring system with the ESM (experience sampling methods) tool on the smartphone.
    And RRD recently evolved this ESM tool to a research & design tool for capturing work activities of older employees to design an ICT Platform for ergonomic and motivating age-friendly workplaces, from which we expect insights that can be translated to the situation of sedentary elderly at home. 
  • Empathic Adventure

    The Empathic Adventure is an immersive experience designed for professionals and semi-professionals to contribute with their own expertise to the innovation process, particularly in the area of ageing and care. The participant ‘walks in the shoes of an older person’ by dressing up in a simple ageing suit, listening to an audio narrative, and tracing the steps of a typical journey that person takes. These three elements; physical, audio and a journey are always followed up by an opportunity to translate that experience into the design process, for example, by defining opportunities or new idea generation.