Conpago. Creating social connection through everyday routine
What is Conpago?
Conpago is a device for seniors that combats social isolation by fostering interaction with loved ones while acting as a noninvasive early alert system. Conpago was developed by a research team at the Queensland University of Technology, lead by Professor Margot Brereton. It has been designed to facilitate communication and engagement with an older friend or relative who lives remotely, through the use of routine, or ‘habituated’ objects. Conpago consists of a paired set of devices that provide a visual indication that a domestic appliance is/has recently been in use, combined with a simplified tablet computer which allows for written notes to be exchanged between the two parties.
How Conpago Works
Conpago works best when at least 2 devices are paired. Simply plug any appliance used daily into Conpago. When that appliance is in use all connected devices will glow. When an elderly person sees the device glowing, they then can see you are active making them feel socially connected. Studies show that the brain releases the same chemical when they see the light as they do when receiving a message or call from the family. When the elderly member’s family sees the device glowing they can be assured that they are up and active. If a device hasn’t been used for a period of time Conpago can alert family members on their smart phones or through their device to suggest something may be up.
You can use Conpago to send messages to your family and let them know you are thinking of them. Messages will be displayed on the device in the background or displayed on your connected smart phone. Conpago can also be used to share pictures and memories.
Using your smart phone you can send a picture to the device which will be displayed in the background so family members can walk past the device and see an updated picture and feel connected to the family.
Research conducted with Conpago indicates that this style of communication provides a simple and intuitive mode of communication that removes the burden of coordinating interaction for geographically and temporally separated aged people and their adult children.