The Homing Compasss, or in Dutch “welthuis kompas” is a concept developed to provide navigation support for people living with dementia, that follows the line of thinking of “warm technology”. The main functionality of the compass is to be an easy to use navigation system with one simple functionality: It always points home. That people with dementia are able to operate by themselves.
When designing for people with dementia it is important to keep technology simple, and in this concept simple pertains to no interaction needed resulting in a low-learning curve. The physical arrow contributes to this usability as well, by being clearly visible and not showed on a screen. The design’s look and feel resembles a compass as ell aesthetically by using familiar materials such as wood and metal. This reminiscence to compasses or compass usage conveys the functionality on a subconscious level.
The homing compass is developed in co-creation with people living with dementia, family members and caregivers. Through several workshop sessions people were involved to provide feedback and steer the design process to this end-result.
Outdoor Life and Technology with Dementia
Recently a book chapter was published in which GPS technology is discussed, and the Homing compass is presented:
Outdoor Life and Technology with Dementia, a chapter by Rens Brankaert, Sandra Suijkerbuijk, as published in the book Using Technology in Dementia Care: A Guide to Technology Solutions for Everyday Living, edited by Arlene Astell, Sarah Kate Smith and Phil Joddrell. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Abstract of the book chapter
The ability to move around outdoors is important for all of us, but especially for people with dementia. It enhances independent living, allows them to be part of the community, and enables them to participate in social activities. Outdoor physical activity, particularly walking, plays an essential role in older adults’ functional independence, whether they have cognitive challenges or not (Simonsick et al. 2005). To emphasise the importance of continuing activity outside the home, Silverstein and Parker (2002) argue that the quality of life of older people increases significantly with their ability to move around in their local outdoor environment. In addition, the ability to move freely outdoors has the potential to enhance self-esteem and independence. In this chapter we examine the challenges people with dementia face when outside of their homes, and discuss technologies that have been developed to address these challenges. We cover these topics from both a design and a research perspective. In this way, we hope to enable those living, working and performing research in this field to find useful applications. In addition, we provide a new perspective on person-centred design, which we consider to be essential when aiming to provide suitable localisation, wayfinding and navigation technologies for people with dementia. This approach could also be implemented in the other domains described in this book or elsewhere.
The book can be found here:
In the video below you can see a short video of how the Homing Compass is intended to be used. This project was realised in collaboration with Rian de Jong.