CLOSER TO NATURE
Interactive Sensory Engagement for Improving Quality of Life of People with Dementia
This project is in collaboration with Vitalis, a Dutch residential care company.
Closer to Nature is an augmented nature viewing stimulator that facilitates tangible interaction for people with dementia living in residential cares. Design aims to connect the residents with outdoor through an indoor engaging multi-sensory experience due to their limited connection with real nature. Simple tactile interaction with a low engagement threshold was adopted to match and stimulate the residents’ reduced cognitive abilities.
The initial product development was derived from interdisciplinary work between Nature/Animal-assisted Therapy, Reminiscence Therapy and design. Since this work was undertaken in collaboration with Vitalis, we addressed several aspects of design that are familiar to a generation of elderly Dutch people in order to trigger reminiscence.
The appliance shows pre-recorded sceneries of a typical Dutch farm. In front of the display, an actual old-fashioned water pump that pumps real water into one half of the animal feeding water trough, which was built as an extension of the virtual content showing on the display. This ‘augmented virtual reality’ provides users with possibilities of tangible interactions and a holistic sensory enrichment experience.