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Using digital mixed reality to help reduce depression
Our challenge: researching the use of digital mixed reality to stimulate people living at home with early stage dementia. People with dementia express the desire to live independently for as long as possible. Assistive technologies can aid this but are often both expensive and intrusive in terms of installation. Furthermore, any virtual environments designed often tend to be 'one size fits all' and yet every person has individual needs. How can we therefore deliver a more effective mixed reality reminiscence experience that can provide a means to engage and reduce depressive tendencies.
Our approach: is to research different forms of media and assistive technologies that can be presented in an engaging mixed reality serious game using Epic Unreal Engine. The game will be played through a smart phone or tablet reducing the need for intrusive additional hardware to be installed. Music, video and memories will be collated from friends and family and presented in a form of digital collage augmenting various graphics and media around the home. The gamification of reminiscence is also not just limited to a single room but can encourage movement within the entire home.
Our impact: to reduce depression by keeping the mind active and engaged adopting a reminiscence theory based approach. This in turn could lead to the reduction in anti depression medication and enabling the person with dementia to continue living independently for a longer period of time. This could therefore reduce demand on health care professionals for medical interventions in some cases. As the dementia progresses the experience could then be delivered in a virtual reality form which could continue the cognitive stimulation.
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