Ireland’s first ever age-friendly smart tablet device for older people is launched

  • New ‘ACORN’ device, created by an Irish company, makes digital engagement easier and more accessible for older people
  • Unique design makes access to common features more intuitive than standard platforms, including larger buttons, simple language, larger fonts, optimised screen size and easy zooming for those with diminished eyesight
  • ACORN’S companion app allows family and carers to stay connected to their loved ones

A new smart tablet created specifically for older people by an Irish company has launched on the Irish market.

‘ACORN’ is Ireland’s first age-friendly tablet device and promises to make going online more accessible and beneficial for new users of digital technology. The tablet is easy to navigate and uses clear, uncluttered displays to make online access simple and rewarding for even the most inexperienced user.

ACORN’S special features include an intuitive design, optimised for those who may have limited experience with technology and may require some additional accessibility support. ACORN uses clear colour-coding, larger fonts and simple non-technical language. It also has a unique two-way camera layout that makes it easier to take steady photos. ACORN also supports an integrated mobile date SIM, enabling access to the internet while on the go, as well as instant video/audio calls and messaging and email for all users.

In addition, the tablet features a customisable news feed, which can be tailored to include updates from local, national and international media. ACORN also has its own dedicated help section with over 30 tutorial videos, allowing users to familiarise themselves with all of the tablet’s features and learn at their own speed as well as dedicated support for users.

Family, friends and carers can also stay connected to ACORN by downloading the companion app on their own mobile devices, meaning they can always stay in touch with and support their loved ones.

ACORN has been trialled and tested through a pilot study which was carried out among 95 participants living in rural and urban areas nationwide. The study was led by Age Friendly Ireland in collaboration with the tablet’s creator and three local authority partners. The study showed significant increases in the utilisation of the smart tablet, with daily usage becoming commonplace for 70% of participants. An independent review of this study was subsequently carried out by National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and it found a significant decrease in computer anxiety among Acorn users, and highlighted the key role the Acorn tablet can play in supporting the engagement of older people with services, the local community and society.

Philip Hogan, CEO and creator of ACORN, says: “Smart devices have fundamentally changed how people interact and communicate. 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 is an age-friendly tablet that has been proven to increase confidence and engagement with digital media among older people. It 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.”

Twitter: @acorn_nation