The Discover Dementia project aims to provide people living with dementia access to sound, stories and music through a soft fabric interface. This is a strong example of “warm technology” that is developed through a person centered care lens. The design is a pillow interface, with touch pads, that allow people to play sounds.

The first iteration of the pillow is designed by Eriano Troenokarso (Bachelor’s graduation project, Industrial Design) in collaboration with Hans van Wetten (Land van Horne). In a nursing home the first prototype explorations were conducted, to learn how music and sound could be provided to people with dementia. The pillow has twelve patches. By touching these patches sound fragments can be played. The sound fragments are personal and selected together with family members to elicit memories and responses. The pillow can be used individually or together with these family members to explore the personal sound fragments.

The first prototype, the discover dementia pillow has won the best care idea of the Netherlands award in 2014 (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Eriano and Hans with the first version of the discover dementia pillow


With the money received we developed the concept further at the Unversity of Technology Eindhoven, and collaborated with nursing homes and people living with dementia to fine tune concept, feel, form and purpose of the design in context. Last year the new design: VITA was presented at the Universteit van Nederland (see other project).

VITA concept

The current iteration of the concept is professionalised and able to work as a standalone product (figure 2). A custom interface is designed that allows for family members and caregivers to upload and select sound files to play with VITA, and different profiles can be selected so the soundscape available can be personalised to multiple residents living in a dementia care home.

Currently we are performing a large scale study to investigate VITA further, and later this year we want to develop the plan of bringing VITA to the market as a product.

Figure 2: The VITA concept pillow