Prototype - Context aware guide

The third prototype to be tested is a context aware guide. The idea is to help people with momentary disorientation either find their way back home or stay calm and safe until someone can pick them up. The prototype consists of two parts, an emergency button with which the person with dementia can call for help, and an automatically generated 'conversation script' for the caller.

The emergency button should be a stand alone tool only for this type of situation. It can either be a simple button to be carried around, integrated in a mobile cover, or be attached to jewellery such as a watch or a necklace. When pressing the emergency button, the system tries to reach supporters from a pre-defined list of people until someone picks up and is connected to the person in need. At this point, the conversation script is activated.

A conversation script is made available for the helper. The script is a mix of calming the disoriented person with dementia and then, based on their location, finding a solution for the current situation. Depending on their location, the system can retrieve context aware data from applications such as the AccessibleMap to better understand the surroundings of the person with dementia. Based on this information, callers might be able to either see the person in need for help through to more familiar surroundings, or help them find a good place to stay and wait for help. A caller could for example tell them, "Do you see the fountain in the middle of the square? Behind that is a bench. Sit down, relax, I'll be there in 10 minutes!".

 The screenshot shows a view of the AccessibleMap next to textual descriptions of the street and next corners, as well as possible points of interest in the near surrounding such as a pharmacy.

The screenshot shows a view of the AccessibleMap next to textual descriptions of the street and next corners, as well as possible points of interest in the near surrounding such as a pharmacy.

Workshop reception

All interventions used in this prototype should be familiar for people with dementia, many of which already use an emergency button for situations such as falling down. Also operating and answering a mobile phone is a known activity, and ideally they should be connected with a familiar person who has a normal conversation with them. However, talking to people with dementia, they were still not sure they would even think of operating an emergency button in a situation of stress and disorientation. This concern might be picked up for future iterations of the prototype where we plan on merging the context aware prototype with the red alert prototype and try to automatically initiate a call based on unfamiliar tracking data.

Naemi Luckner