VITA is an interactive cushion that enables people with dementia to play music or personal audio files by touching one of six textile touchpads.
Research has demonstrated that listening to music or everyday sounds can be beneficial for people with dementia by evoking memories, emotions or social interactions. However, it is challenging to integrate technologies that facilitate audio experiences in daily care practice. VITA is an interactive cushion that provides an accessible interface for people with dementia to leverage the beneficial effects of sound into everyday care practice. A custom online platform allows for family members and caregivers to upload and select sound files to play with VITA. People with dementia can play audio content by touching one of the six embroidered textile touchpads. VITA was designed by the Pleyade Innovation Team (PIT), a collaboration between Pleyade, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Holland Art Group, BENDE Rotterdam and Interactive Matter.
VITA was evaluated during a field study with 19 people with advanced dementia in a residential care environment. First, workshops were held with caregivers and activity supervisors to explain the design rationale of VITA and to co-create scenarios for using the device in everyday care practice. After the workshop, the caregivers and activity supervisors used VITA during care activities in two different care homes for a period of 4 weeks. During this period, observations were performed. After these four weeks, a short interview took place with the caregivers to assess their experience and use of VITA. Our results provide insights into how VITA supports storytelling, playful experiences, and social connectedness between residents and caregivers.
Relevant literature and references
Maarten Houben, Rens Brankaert, Saskia Bakker, Gail Kenning, Inge Bongers, and Berry Eggen. 2020. The Role of Everyday Sounds in Advanced Dementia Care. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–14. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376577
Maarten Houben, Rens Brankaert, Gail Kenning, Berry Eggen, and Inge Bongers (2020). The Perspectives of Professional Caregivers on Implementing Audio-Based Technology in Residential Dementia Care. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6333. DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176333
Maarten Houben, Rens Brankaert, and Eveline Wouters. 2020. Stakeholder Perspectives on Design Interventions in Dementia Care. Companion Publication of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 43–47. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3393914.3395868