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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 21:18 GMT
Technophobes wanted for research
The analogue TV signal will be switched off between 2008-2012
The analogue TV signal will be switched off between 2008-2012
Researchers are looking for volunteers over the age of 40 who find it hard to adapt as digital technology becomes increasingly complex.

The University of Dundee is looking for people who accept the potential advantages of new technology but whose experience is more pain than pleasure.

It wants to explore how fear of change can be reduced by making things such as digital television much simpler to use.

The research project will begin in early 2006 and last until next year.

'Savvy people'

Research fellow Dr Alex Carmichael said: "Unfortunately a lot of 'modern technology' tends to be designed by relatively young and technically savvy people, effectively for other young, technically savvy people.

"While many not-so-young and not-so-technically savvy people can manage to make some use of technology designed this way, others will face real difficulties along with the accompanying frustrations, and some will find it simply impossible."

One major change that most people will find difficult to avoid is the switch off of the analogue TV signal which will happen, region by region, between 2008 and 2012.

This will mean that in six years time all televisions must receive a digital signal.

Dr Carmichael said one important implication of the switch to digital was that televisions would become much more like computers.

For many people this was good news as it gave them greater control and more choice, he said.

Mostly this will involve relatively small changes to the design of the interface and remote control
Mark Rice
University of Dundee

However, for others it would mean that using their television would become much more complicated.

"We have to see how we can make things much simpler to use, particularly for those people who aren't particularly comfortable with using new technology," said Mark Rice, a Phd student, based in the Division of Applied Computing at Dundee.

"Mostly this will involve relatively small changes to the design of the interface and remote control, based on the huge diversity of capabilities and preferences among the viewing public.

"We are also looking into ways of using the 'computing' power of digital television to support activities that are maybe more suitable for people who don't quite feel part of that 'MTV-PDA-MP3-texting-24/7-3G' generation."


SEE ALSO:
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'Nearly two thirds' watch digital
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BBC Two first to go fully digital
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08 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Last digital push 'to cost 572m'
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