Prototype - Cooperative Day Planner

Our first prototype is a cooperative day planner. The idea is to provide people with dementia and their care personnel or family with a means to discuss and communicate about the day's structure, preferably in the morning, and to reflect about upcoming plans. This reflection might serve to activate the patient's memory and form emotional connections with certain to-dos and hence heighten commitment for daily chores.

The day planner will be a haptic input device where to-dos can be arranged on a board with blocks representing appointments. The blocks are designed to be easily graspable and are magnetic to latch onto time slots on the board. Each block is associated with an activity such as shopping, a visit to the doctor and so on, and some blocks can be labelled freely. The board has a digital up-link to a home device, which can make planned activities available for family and care personnel in emergency situations and to other applications such as our geo-fencing prototype or our context aware prototype.

Workshop reception

During later workshops we introduced the general idea of the cooperative day planner to workshop participants to get an idea of how such an intervention would be received. While the reception was mixed depending on which group of stack holders we asked, the overall feedback confirmed the value of testing the idea in real life. Senior citizens were taken with the social and emotional cooperative component of discussing their plans with their kids for example and hence having regular conversations with them. Care personnel were persuaded of the worth of such a tool when discussing emotional connections, such as "Today my grandchild will come to visit, so I should take a shower!", however, they doubted that the tool would be used regularly and were worried about additional time needed to be spend discussing and creating a daily schedule. However, we resolved to take care to create an object that was engaging to use and at the same time did not intrude too much into a persons everyday life, for example, by giving activities different levels of importance and only reminding the user of very important appointments, leaving it up to them to keep track of less important activities.

Design process

The design process of the cooperative day planner started with a first prove of concept in which we tested possible detection strategies of different time slot blocks. The images in the gallery below show two differently coloured blocks and a LED lighting up according to which block is put on top of the detector.

As a next step we concentrated on designing blocks which are comfortable to pick up from a plane surface, big enough for visible labelling and viable to include necessary technical parts. Additionally, blocks can be slightly see-through, which offers the possibility to backlight current time slots and create a anchor point for people with dementia where in their day they are. First sketches of the cooperative day planner can be seen in the gallery in the top left corner. The sketch shows the planning board with a graded right side to easily take off placed tiles. Directly below are different block shapes with possible ways to mark them as important. In the bottom right corner of the image is a cross section of one slot on the board including the LED, resistors and magnets.