Exploring how augmented reality could help people with dementia to carry out tasks

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A man sat at a table making a cup of coffee using augmented reality technology

What is needed

People living with dementia often have difficulties with memory and completing tasks.

With the right tools, people living with dementia can stay at home longer and remain independent.

Prompting tools can support the completion of everyday tasks for people with memory difficulties.

Augmented reality (AR) has been used as a prompting tool in other areas, such as industrial maintenance and assembly tasks, and is an up-and-coming technology.

The aim of Thomas’ research is to determine if people living with dementia can benefit from the use of AR as a prompting tool in the home.

Who will benefit

Existing prompting tools have been shown to be effective. However, augmented reality (AR) opens up the possibility of over-laying 3D information onto the real world, which could improve how well prompting works for people living with dementia.

There is also the possibility that the increased independence of a person living with dementia will improve the quality of life of their carers too.

The project aims to provide an answer to how effective AR can be for people living with dementia, even if the output is that AR is not a useful tool in this case.

Design and development

Thomas’ project includes aspects of how to develop user interfaces in augmented reality that people living with dementia can understand and use. This will include identifying what actions need to be represented (like ‘pick up’ the cup) and how these will be represented in AR.

A project steering group: INTERPRET (INfluence TEchnology Research for PRompting Everyday Tasks) has now been launched.

As part of his research, Thomas will be facilitating a project steering group that can be joined by people with dementia and their carers. This is so they can give their input and guide the direction of the project.