• Add to Collection
  • About

    About

    2014-2015
    Published:
 
 
Memories effect our personality and enable us to manage our daily lives. Memory loss can lead to a crisis of identity and feelings of helplessness. Normally, simple memory aids such as Post-its or wall-calendars can be used to cope with normal forgetfulness and to remind us of up-coming events. However, when individuals experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI), age-related forgetfulness, or more debilitating conditions such as dementia, normal memory aids like wall-calendars no longer suffice. Memory loss makes it more difficult for individuals to manage daily life independently. 
 
Discussions with experts on this topic have revealed that people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, lose their sense for time and forget important appointments. As a result they often go to their calendars to check for upcoming events. However, this information is often quickly forgotten once the calendar is out of sight.This leads to stress and discontent in the affected person, which in turn has a negative influence on the progression of the illness.
 
 
 
 
 
How can we remain self-reliant when our cognitive faculties deteriorate?
MEMO expands the design of a normal wall-calendar through the integration of small detachable magnetic objects. Each object represents a particular appointment. They can be removed from the calendar and carried anywhere with you. These portable objects trigger a multi-sensory memory process in advance of an appointment, even when the calendar is not close-by. The MEMO objects are made of materials that the user associates with people they see regularly or events that take place on a regular basis. 
Playing music forms another part of the multi-sensory memory process. The music chosen will also be associated with a particular person or event. This allows the MEMO objects to become more easily linked with specific meanings. Both the music and the material should have a personal association for the user, in order to support thought processes in the brain.
 
 
 
 
Fotos: Sebastian Pfütze
 
 
The process has three separate phases, the initialization phase, the preparation phase and the departure phase, at which point, one should leave for the appointment in order to arrive on time. The music stops automatically on leaving the home in order not to draw attention. Short pauses serve to prevent the user from growing accustomed to the sensory signals. Even people with impaired hearing will perceive a change in the acoustic atmosphere. The duration of the intervals decreases incrementally in order to increase urgency. Timing, such as when the process begins, the length of the phases and the duration of the intervals, can all be individually adapted. The user can do this together with a relative or carer. 
 
 
 
 
 
If it is, despite melody and material unclear, with whom and where the upcoming appointment takes place, you can rotate the MEMO object and a recorded message of the event is played. If the memory process perceived as unpleasant, it can be stopped for a brief moment by pressing the MEMO object.
Pressing the object outside of a memory process, triggers the according melody of the MEMO object. This playful way helps to internalize the link to the person or the event.
 
 
 
 
 
The MEMO objects are constructed in a way, that the individual components can be replaced at any time, without throwing the entire object away. As a variant, it is conceivable that small icons or pictures of the persons can support the assignment of the memo objects. These optional possibilities may be used on personal preferences and severity of the disease.
The E-Ink Display requires little energy to produce and maintain the display. Only for changing the image content a current flow is required. Additional color filters bring the color to display and can create approximately a bright white.
 
 
 
 
 
 
During the later stages of dementia, people will find it difficult to recognize and use the MEMO objects as memory aids. However, the active participation in the memory processes including the shared personalisation activities and the multi-sensory memory rituals can nonetheless have a positive effect. Appointments outside the home will decrease and activities such as taking medication and having meals will take precedence. During these times, MEMO can impart a rhythm to daily life and provide orientation.
 
 
 
 
 
In addition to the development of design prototypes for the MEMO objects, a technical prototype has been developed in conjunction with Arduino. This technical prototype simulates the multi-sensory memory process. 
 
 
 
Foto: Sebastian Pfütze
 
 
 
The repetition of stimuli through various sensory organs, aids the internalization of memory rituals and events. This awareness of events can be enhanced through the repetition of activities with MEMO objects such as placing and removing them from the calendar. Events do not remain abstract; instead they are experienced and understood on different levels. The MEMO objects give the individual more independence in the absence of a carer. The carer, on the other hand, can feel more confident that appointments will be kept, as a result of the shared rituals.