Shared Symphonies

Building Group Tangible Music Experiences for People Living with Dementia

The world population is increasing as people are living longer than ever before due to advances in modern medicine. With this comes an increased number of people who live with symptoms of dementia. Modern entertainment technologies are fun, engaging and social but people living with symptoms of dementia suffer with memory, language and orientation difficulties. This makes it difficult for them to engage in modern forms of technology driven entertainment and so- cial scenarios because of the complex interactions and required communication technology currently presents. This leads to them feeling isolated, lonely and a burden to people around them.

We set out to explore the possibilities of delivering new technology driven enter- tainment for creating more inclusive interactions. We identify the emerging idea of using Tangible User Interfaces for the context of designing and developing new and unique interaction mediums for people living with dementia. With this concept we set out design targets of facilitating meaningful group activities and ensuring inclusive interaction that everyone would engage with. We propose what technologies can be used in achieving this, paired with concept ideas for systems to facilitate these interactions. We used these ideas and built a prototype interface named Shared Symphonies. This system incorporated simple tangible interactions through augmenting ex- isting materials to drive musical output.

From early feedback and discussions, we begin to see how Shared Symphonies is achieving these group interactions through enjoyable shared music experiences. To summarise, this work outlines how we have developed new innovative ways of thinking about technologies for people living with dementia. We promote the use of tangible interfaces, use of music and encourage designing for group experiences. In our conclusion we discuss future work and evaluations needed for this to be taken into care environments as a future entertainment system for elevating and engaging people living with dementia.

Project Outcomes