Offering meaningful distractions for people with dementia

For my first research project, I chose the dementia care space as my design research context. After a context exploration, I designed an interactive placemat to research if it could have a positive influence on the eating activities of people with dementia. Observations and interviews indicated that the interactive placemat could offer a positive distraction for people during the eating moments. 

I learned that an initially defined approach might not always reflect the outcomes of the research. For example, I thought that the sounds incorporated in the design would have an influence on my participants. However, this was not evident out of my observations and interviews. Nevertheless, I did find other interesting interactions with my design. This made me realize that it is important to always have an open-minded approach as you are conducting research whilst still having defined a clear research scope. 

Another version of the paper was written and eventually featured at Dementia Lab 2019, which can be found here 

Research setup and interactions

Sounds incorporated in the interactive placemat