The brief

Integrating Technology & Transforming Ageing

The UK is undergoing a demographic shift that will have far-reaching consequences for society, the economy and public service provision. For the first time Britain’s over 65s outnumber people under the age of 16. By 2020, the Office for National Statistics predicts that people aged over 50 will make up almost one third (32%) of the workforce and nearly half (47%) the adult population.The implications for an ageing society affect all of us, across generations and will touch every part of our lives, presenting challenges for individuals, families, communities, employers, service providers and government. Responding to the needs of people in later life is one of society’s most crucial and growing issues

For this assignment we were required to consider how the intermediate care within a geriatric ward can be designed to encourage and stimulate rehabilitation and recovery.

'A vastly improved life expectancy – one of the great triumphs of the previous century – looks set to be one of the great challenges of this one.'

– Design Council

Target audience

I chose to create excercises for stroke survivors. As in each year there are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK, and currently there are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK.
I choose to design for stroke survivors, especially for those who suffer from Aphasia. As sround one-third of stroke survivors have Aphasia which affects the ability to speak and understand what others say. My aim was to make the repetitive speech therapy exercises more entertaining with the help of technology and also intent to improve the patients mental wellbeing

Primary research

For primary research I chose to make surveys for the health care workers and for the patients. In the early stage of the questionnaire I consulted with a (BA) Sociology student and with a PhD candidate (Politics/International Relations) about how to prepare the questions.

I contacted Stroke UK and Stroke Association to help me to recruit participants. However when they answered for my request it was too late for the project. In my surveys I wanted to find out the patients/health care experts connection and experience with different rehabilitation techniques they use. As I did not have the opportunity to complete the questionnaires with patients I decided to use Stroke Association ‚My Stroke Guide’ as a strarting point for my persona forms.
Secondary research

Empathy workshop

At the end of February we had an empathy workshop which helped us to better understand the everyday difficulties of elderly people and the daily lives of people who suffer from some form of disease such us dementia or alzheimer’s disease.
When I started my research first I wanted to understand human-centered design so I read two books from IDEO: Field Guide to Human-centered Design’ and ‚Human Centered Design Toolkit’. I also used Stroke Association’s ‚My Stroke Guide’ as a main resource and Design Council’s reports and case studies within their ‚Transforming Ageing’ program.
Idea generation

Firstly, I had a lot of ideas, but as I continued my research alongside my idea generation I needed to realize the most of them are already exists in stroke rehabilitation.
For example, I wanted to create a VR experience, but there any many kind of out there already such us MindMaze or NeurorehabVR. Although, I have noticed that most of the rehabilitation methods focuses on an individuals instead of creating a game for a group so throughout the project I tried to create a group experience without any scoring system. (As every patient is on a different level of recovery.)
After the VR idea I wanted to create interactive games for the patients with augmented/mixed, but quickly turned out that the idea requires dark rooms which is not feasible with patients who are visually impaired.
There are also a lot of app created for the help the daily live of stroke survivors. Such is Immersive Rehab, Blood Pressure (BP) Watch, Diabetes:M, Vision Tap, Proloquo2Go, Lingraphica, Breathe2Relax, mEdiSafe, Dixteria ti just name a few.
I also had the idea create smart wearable for navigation within the ward for people with visual impairment. With a smartwatch or smart, but this solution would not have answered the brief.
At one point it was quite hard to came up with an original, new idea. I felt like everything had been invented on this topic
The final solution

Every patient has different needs so at the end I came up with a group and individual therapy idea.

The group singing idea based on the melodic intonation therapy where patients practice sound patterns over and over or use natural melody and rhythm of common phrases. During the group singing therapy, participants sing slower songs together and on the wall they see the shape of the mouth which they have to use for different words. The display has round led lights connected to a open-source software and hardware library called AnyPixel.js. It helps to project different abstract forms and the mouth shapes to the wall to help the patients sing.

The individual therapy I wanted to imporve straw phonation exercises.
Straw phonation exercise helps improve airflow and resonance and encourage better vocal fold function to produce a stronger and more stable voice. During straw phonation there is less impact, collision, and stress on the vocal folds. The pressure sensor at then end of the straw sends information via bluetooth to the interactive wall, which converts the data into different colored forms on the interactive wall. The shape becomes circular when the patient performs the task well.

What do you think about the project? Is there anything you like about it or you would change? I would really appreciate to get some feedback so please,

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