TAU-Developed App Empowers Seniors with Tech Savvy

Prof. Eran Toch and PhD graduate Tamir Mendel aim to help older adults avoid online scams
29 September 2022
Tamir Mendel and Prof. Eran Toch
Tamir Mendel (front) and Prof. Eran Toch. (Photo: Rafael Ben-Menashe/TAU)

A mobile application developed by TAU researchers makes it simpler for seniors to navigate smartphones and avoid falling victim to online scams.


Recent PhD graduate Dr. Tamir Mendel led the development of the app, Meerkat, based on his doctoral research on the digital behavior of elderly adults, under the supervision of Prof. Eran Toch of the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. Mendel found that seniors concerned with technological security prefer help from friends and family over experts from tech support services.


The app is more intuitive for seniors than existing digital resources. For example, it guides users to take a screenshot of a page they don’t recognize, mark suspicious elements (such as an unknown link), and send their question to a trusted contact or in-app volunteer. The helper provides personalized directions for resolving the issue.


"My goal is to make technology more accessible and inclusive for all demographics because it can improve well-being and reduce loneliness,” says Mendel, who is currently pursuing postdoctoral research at New York University.


The project was funded through a grant from the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, and Meerkat is currently available in the US and Israel through the Google Play Store.   




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