Tumbler: accessible sound player for people with dementia

Eindhoven University of TechnologyNetherlands

Empowering, Engaging

Concept / Indie/Non-Profit


Maarten Houben


The project “Everyday Sounds of Dementia” aims to research the potential of sound and soundscapes in design of technology and services for people living with dementia. Research has demonstrated the cognitive and psychological benefits of music for people with dementia. In the Everyday Sounds of Dementia project, we further expand this body of knowledge by exploring the role of everyday sounds or non-musical ordinary sounds in evoking memories and conversations to provide meaningful social activity for people with dementia and their relatives. However, most audio-based technologies are inaccessible or difficult to use for people with dementia due to cognitive and physical disabilities.
This project contributes to the positive well-being and quality of life of people living with dementia, and their caregivers, by supporting day-to-day functioning in their homes, and during times of transition to higher levels of care. It uses design-research and participatory approaches to develop interactive soundscapes (collages of everyday ambient sounds ) to calm, reduce agitation, stimulate, excite and engage people living with dementia in times of anxiety, stress or boredom, and promote meaningful activity in high-risk situations. The insights of this project have resulted in the Tumbler prototype, which is an accessible sound player for people with dementia to play everyday sounds and provide meaningful sound-based activity at home.

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