ATLANTA — The Georgia Institute of Technology on Tuesday announced the launch of HomeLab, a statewide network of adults 50 years of age and older recruited to evaluate the in-home usability and effectiveness of consumer products designed for the aging adult population.
HomeLab currently consists of 100 homes distributed throughout the state of Georgia; the network is expected to grow to 150 homes later this year and 550 homes by 2014.
Acccording to Georgia Tech, the HomeLab infrastructure lessens the burden for companies that need to find participants 50 years of age and older for extended in-home product testing. Because Georgia Tech collects detailed information about each HomeLab participant’s health and home up front, individuals can be rapidly recruited for targeted short- and long-term product testing.
“HomeLab provides an efficient means for companies to limit the cost of extensive user testing that is required to bring a product to market,” stated Brad Fain, director of HomeLab and a principal research scientist in the Georgia Tech Research Institute. “Evaluation of a pre-market or mature technology by Georgia Tech’s HomeLab will provide a company with documented evidence for marketing, regulatory compliance and product design.”
Georgia Tech currently serves as the independent product testing organization for the U.S. Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis Society of Canada and Arthritis Australia. With the launch of HomeLab, GTRI will expand its product testing program to include extended in-home product evaluations, which will range from one month to one year in duration and involve 25 to 125 participants who are compensated for their time. HomeLab will provide companies with product design support, early product testing, and formal usability and effectiveness evaluations.