Introduction 

Main goal for this project was to propose assistive technology for people diagnosed with Alzheimer?s Disease (AD). Due to research we discovered how complex and various problems people with AD need to cope with. So when trying to fulfill their needs we had to be open enough to personalize and at the same time closed enough to stay usable.


Solution

The system is targeted to assist younger people afflicted with the disease. It aims to be introduced straight after diagnosis staying with them and adapting to their needs as the disease progresses to keep their independence up to the stage wheren they need full time care.


Details

Project was created at Ume? Institute of Design in 2015 during 5 weeks. I was working in a team with:
AkanshaAkansha Aggarwal
AndréAndré Kennedy

What is Independi?

Independi is a toolkit which can be personalized for people with Alzheimer?s Disease (AD) and their care takers.



Benefits

The biggest advantage of the toolkit is an ability to adapt to user needs. Through the disease progress, affected person uses different parts of toolkit as a support to cope with day-to-day problems. With time, family and care takers become more frequent users and with usage of the toolkit, they are trying to prolong independence of the patient.




Interactive Prototype

Prototype shows the part of the interface that helps to create voice instructions which will assist a patient e.g. in preparing a lunch.


The Design Process

In researching the disease we read medical articles and watch various documentaries. The pivot point was a meeting with care takers from Hemig?rden that answered our questions and showed us their perspective on the challenges.


Discovered Opportunities
Independence of a patient

When diagnosed at a young age, one of the most significant issues faced by people relates to their ability to remain independent. From being diagnosed, they slowly lose their identity as they become both limited and restricted in what they can do. It is often a humiliating process as psychologically they are still very present.


Situational Awareness

People with AD often forget where they are and what they are doing, causing disorientation and confusion. In many cases they keep a little book that they use to keep track of the things they are doing and have planned. But even this simple solution has its challenges. At one point they will lose the dexterity to write and will often lose or misplace the book.


Communication and Information

In many cases, once diagnosed, families are left alone to cope with the situation, with little information or support. This often leads to a poor understanding of the severity of the disease by the person affected and family members. The care takers who were interviewed expressed how this seemingly invisible disease makes it harder to empathize with the person afflicted with Alzheimer?s.


Problems of people afflicted with AD

Progress of the disease can be divided into three main stages. Each stage has different symptoms and requires different involvement of care takers. Worth to mention that each person can have completely different symptoms.




Adaptability challenge

“Alzheimer?s affects every person in different way. It is really important to have personal approach to each patient.”


Care taker from Hemig?rden


Storyboards

We created storyboards that helped us to better understand patients? difficulties and to find a ways to support them in those. We showed those materials on a presentation with care takers to better explain our concept.




RFID Prototype

We created simple prototype in Processing that gave a possibility to record a message on a RFID sticker by a care taker to listen by a patient later on.


Tool kit
The toolkit. Why?

We decided to create an open product that would fulfil needs of wide spectrum of users. The toolkit was inspired by ideas such as littlebits where users create their own solutions with their creativity and designers are only providing elements to make it happen. In our case we strongly believe in creativeness of society gathered around Alzheimer Disease, not only patients but also care takers and doctors.

One part of the toolkit is the website where everyone can upload their solutions for problems and download solutions from other users.


Smart Bracelet
Smart Bracelet

The main interface for the person with AD. It tells users the time, where and what they are doing. Further the bracelet will remind them about things on their schedule like eating or hygiene.


RFID Block
RFID Block

Detection of the blocks by the bracelet will trigger events in the application. If the user would go to the fridge, it might remind them that they have already eaten today. It might also guide through completing such tasks as the laundry.


Mobile Application
Application

It manages the schedules and keeps the user up to date. Data can by uploaded by the user or the care taker. Further the app has the ability to record the biometric data taken by the bracelet and send it to the doctor if the patient wishes.


Brochure
Brochure

It contains useful information for the person afflicted with AD and their family. Further, the brochure would explain the kit and give examples of how to use it.

Sticker
Sticker

RFID stickers are triggered by the presence of the bracelet. They may be used as a means of leaving messages and notes for the user. They can also contain recorded memories.


Structure of toolkit

The infographics present interactions between stakeholders and the elements of the toolkit.




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