Waag Society has a long experience in creating interactive multimedia furniture. Right at the start of Waag Society in 1996 the first Reading table for old and new media was installed at the Waag. Visitors could read both newspaper and magazines as browse the internet. This piece of 'media furniture' won the Rotterdam Designprize in 1997. Shortly after, the development of the Storytable started, that resulted in a product that was placed in almost 100 elderly care centres in The Netherlands.
An interface, designed in close cooperation with elderly people, made it possible to listen to or play digital clips from a large database. The material contained songs, sounds, images and movies from the 1920s to the 1980s. The clips inspired memories which lead to animated conversations around the Storytable. Conversations could be led by facilitators in a residential home, or the residents themselves.
The purpose of the Storytable was to increase the quality and enjoyment of life in retirement and residential homes. Additional benefits of the Storytable were decreased social isolation and improved reminiscence. The Storytable was connected to a closed network on the internet. This network made it possible to update the tables with new material, and to distribute interesting material and responses to the main database.
The Storytable's navigation system suited the capabilities of elderly people. Two 'intelligent' buttons were all that was needed to search and use the database. This navigation system was developed in close cooperation with elderly people (the 'users-as-designers' method). The database content of the Storytable was also selected in collaboration with elderly people. It included old songs, news bulletins, and short movies about everyday life.
Storytable users could also add their own comments or stories to the table, provided a facilitator was at hand to assist. The Storytable was available as a product since 2004. The production and support of the table has been ended.