Warm Technology Challenge

The Warm Technology Challenge

A Student competition to improve the life of people with dementia!

Students with ideas that can make a positive impact on the life of people with dementia can participate in the Warm Technology Challenge. Whether it’s an idea, prototype, or vision; anything goes!

Winners receive a cash prize and unique network opportunities with the TU/e expertise centre Dementia and Technology.

Warm Technology Challenge 2022

On June 30 (during DDAI 2022), the finale of the first edition of the Warm Technology Challenge took place. The jury members (composed by director of Alzheimer Nederland); a designer, an ECDT employee and a caregiver; had a hard job of deciding upon the three winners.

Particular attention was paid to the following points:
1) Positive impact on the quality of life of people with dementia and their social environment;
2) Relevance to the concept of warm technology by supporting inclusion, dignity and human connection;
3) New and creative application of emerging technologies such as AI or VR;
4) And perhaps most importantly, does the design or concept fulfill a need or desire of a person with dementia?

From left to right: Wijnand IJsselsteijn (ECDT), Marco Blom (Alzheimer Nederland), Finn Timmermans, Yvon Ruitenburg, Bibi Vermeulen en Rens Brankaert (ECDT)

Winners of the first edition

Warm Smile App

Finn Timmermans

A video-calling application that puts a smile on the face of the person with dementia and gives him or her a feel-good moment. The family of the person with dementia who uses the app feels more involved, close and reassured.


Yvon Ruitenburg

Favorite recipes can be put together via a simple application and the instructions can be easily followed on a large sheet of paper via a board. Happje aims to give people with dementia back control and self-confidence during the cooking process.


Bibi van der Meulen

A glove that simulates human warmth and touch. People with dementia, especially in later stages of the disease, need human contact. This design can help to give the person with dementia a sense of security and to have a calming effect during anxious and nervous behaviour.

About Warm Technology
Incidences of age-related diseases such as dementia are increasing. The societal views on dementia have drastically changed from addressing people with dementia by their symptoms to people with unique life experiences. Attention is shifting to living well with dementia, and how non-pharmacological interventions such as technology can play an important role to support this. However, there are still many challenges ahead. Technology is often devised without full consideration of the target user group, or a thorough understanding of the context in which it is to operate. Furthermore, technology is often perceived as impersonal, complicated, and cold. The recently launched expertise centre “Dementia & Technology” at the University has developed a novel approach to technology design and evaluation that we call “Warm Technology”, which we apply in the domain of dementia.

The warm technology approach to technology design is inclusive, person-centered, and focused on the abilities and aspirations of people living with dementia and their caretakers, rather than merely compensating for the loss of motor function or cognitive ability. Warm technology builds on this perspective by contributing to the well-being of every person through reinforcing dignity, supporting agency, and providing feelings of comfort and safety.

The Challenge
In this student design competition, we challenge students to contribute innovative and ground-breaking examples of warm technology that can have a meaningful impact on the lives of people with dementia and their loved ones. We highly welcome submissions that address the ethical challenges of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), socially assistive robots (SARs), or virtual reality (VR) and expand the notion of warm technology for people with dementia. Submissions can be in the form of mock-ups, functional prototypes, design probes, videos, future ideas, conceptual visions.
The submissions will be judged on:

1) impact on quality of life of people with dementia and their social surroundings;
2) relevance to the concept of warm technology by supporting inclusion, dignity, and empowerment;
3) novel and creative application of emergent technologies such as AI, VR, or SARs.

Selected submissions were showcased at the exhibition during the DDAI conference, on the 30th of June 2022 in Eindhoven.

First place will receive 1.000 EUR alongside unique network opportunities and connections with relevant stakeholders facilitated by Alzheimer Nederland and personal coaching sessions by experts from ECDT to further develop and refine their concept, product, or idea. The second and third place will be awarded 500 EUR and 250 EUR respectively.

Submission Guidelines
To participate, you have to submit a document up to two A4 pages explaining the rationale and motivation behind your submission. Video submissions are optional but highly recommended. Students can participate both in groups and individually. If you are interested in the student challenge but do not have a finished design or need additional support, please reach out to us at dementia@tue.nl. We can provide support to further develop your submission and help you find a teammate or join another student group.

The deadline for the first edition was 1 June 2022. News about a second edition of the challenge wil be announced here, on our LinkedIn and in our newsletter.