Award wins for UTS students developing dementia resources
Two ideas from UTS students have won awards for their capacity to assist the growing numbers of people with dementia.
Dementia heads the list of diseases anticipated to grow exponentially as the global population ages. This is focusing interest in ways to support people with dementia, their families and carers, as cognitive impairment progresses from mild (occasional memory lapse) to severe (need for 24-hour personal care), and to address symptoms such as loss of language, memory, motivation and mobility.
UTS Winner #1!
Siva Leela Krishna Chand Gudi is a PhD student in social robotics at the UTS Magic Lab; his best friend Ashish Rauniyar, is a PhD fellow at the University of Oslo, working on Internet of Things (IoT).
“I am from India and I met Ashish, who’s from Nepal, when we were master’s students in South Korea,” said Chand.
Together, from afar, they hatched an idea for an award-winning dementia resource.
Their dementia smart wristwatch won the Norwegian Challenge of the 2017 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and represented Norway in the Europe-wide innovation competition during European Space Week 2017.
The watch is designed to prevent injuries due to fall detection sensors which can also activate an airbag on a wearable device protecting the head and hips, has real-time geotracking of patients in a predefined area, and sends alerts to caregivers if patients leave that area. An embedded LoRa geolocation solution in the watch supports both in- and outdoor tracking to extend the area.
While the Award prize came with a significant financial prize, they are ineligible to collect it as neither are Norwegian citizens and need to look further for start-up finance.
“We were awarded in an innovation competition where you have to come up with something very new to become a winner, and have attracted interest companies in the idea of the smartwatch,” Ashish explained.
UTS winner #2!
The Student Prototype Exhibition held in November 2016 was an outstanding showcase for innovative ideas being developed by undergraduate students across UTS.
The exhibition featured entries in a specific project, Dementia Futures, where School of Software students in Prototyping Physical Interaction explored designs to assist in everyday aspects of dementia. Students worked with experts in the user-testing process, including designers and researchers working in design for dementia, health-care professionals and neuropsychologists.
An interactive music box developed by Adam Bursull, Dylan Hardaker and Michael Zanbak was joint first place getter for its brain-training ability to boost memory.
Watch: Interactive Music Box demonstration
Hi I’m Michael, Hi I’m Adam, Hi I’m Dylan, and this is our interactive music box.
Our design is an interactive music box that has been specifically designed for use for those affected by dementia. The design focusses on music therapy to promote a brain healthy lifestyle for the individual.
Its design aims to positively affect the individual in terms of memory recall, behavioural changes and increase social interactivity to improve overall brain health and reduce the impact of dementia related symptoms.
So the music box has two main functions. On top here is a “whack-a-mole” style memory game where you press a button wherever a light is. So if you follow the lights it plays through your favourite melody and as you remember the pattern you’ll be able to play faster and more in time with your melody. If you get bored of that, or you just don’t like that kind of feature, there’s the simple crank just to crank through your song as well. It is speed dependent, so you can go faster, or slower. Now, you’ll probably notice that these do flash, this happens after about 10 seconds of no input just to remind you that this is the next button to press.
The overall product is designed to be simple for users to enjoy and feel engaged. So, this knob on the side, as you can see here, is for playing through the songs and they appear on the LCD screen.
So incorporating the crank and the knob together, it allows for the compilation of times.
So our music box design is now an authentic user experience and relates to vintage musical boxes, so there is an element of reminiscence which is explored. Based on the feedback from our expert user studies, the wooden exterior was kept consistent for aesthetic purposes as well as to highlight contrast between the buttons and the wooden surroundings.
The lights as integrated as part of the buttons were implemented for memory assistance. The flashing of the light after a while as mentioned before also grabs the user’s attention if they’ve forgotten how to get back into the memory game. Also, the music box is mobile and wireless so offers portability and use in both individual and and group situations.
So this is our music box design, we hope you enjoyed our demo, thanks for watching.
“At first we were a bit apprehensive about designing a dementia-related product, but is was an open brief and we could let our imaginations run and do whatever we wanted within the area of focus,” said Adam.
Several ideas were tossed around before they decided to use their programming skills to make a digital version of a music box which also incorporated some of the elements of a ‘whack-a-mole’ type game, in this case where a physical response to a flashing light plays a tone. If followed in sequence, the initial program played Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’.
None of the team had/have much musical knowledge – but were able to create a library of 88 notes based on a standard keyboard. Their design also incorporates a crank to resemble a traditional music box, and can be programmed to play different songs from different genres.
Semester may have ended but the team has not fully put the project back in its box.
“It would be really good to test it with people who have dementia to see if it can be useful to them,” said Adam.
Other dementia concepts showcased by students included: an interactive textile to support memory and recognition, an automated pill delivery system to support accurate taking of medications, a digital walking stick to contact carers if lost and a driving game to promote engagement and interaction.
Showcase 2017 Awards:
- Interactive Music Box (Dylan Hardaker, Adam Bursill, Michael Zanbaka)
- Platform 21 (Georgette Tabor and Natassja Sundara) A first person survival game showcasing an effective combination of Artificial intelligence and dynamic music.
Joint runners - up
- Ryutai (Luke Crawford, Gabrilee Hea, Monique Liwanag)
- HCI Cultural Probe and Research Poster (Farley Dhal)
- Interactive Building 11 (Charbel Hajjar, Vanessa Peschen, Antoine Bejjani, Elizabeth Kavuru, Revathi Sawminathan) An interactive application that visualises data collected at UTS (focusing on Building 11) to highlight innovative ways to understand, predict and program activities.