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I hold a degree in business and civil engineering from Queensland University of Technology and have previously been the chairman of not for profit organisation Norsk. I have a background in the health and fitness industry before expanding my experience and working for larger scale organisations including the QUT’s Student Union.
Hi Joanna We weren't able to edit our idea page but here is a link with us running through the product. https://youtu.be/E5KdJ5NVihM we think this might help with answering some of the questions you might have.
Thanks Joanna, we appreciate the opportunity to get involved, it has been great to see all the other entrants and their inspirational ideas. We are eagerly awaiting the final announcement and progressing our idea.
Hi Joanna Spoth to address your whole question I have broken it up a bit. Sorry for the delay in responding. The Companion relieves some of the dependence that a dementia sufferer can have on the carer by removing some of their daily tasks and responsibilities.
'Would the Companion be in the home of the person with dementia and connect to a tablet? And is that what would connect with devices around the home? Then, caregivers would simply download the app (not have Companion) to sync with the activities of their loved one, use the messaging feature, etc. Trying to repeat back the way I'm understanding so you can correct it. :)'
You have the right idea, the Companion itself will be in the home of the person with dementia, and connected to any regularly used electric appliance, (In Australia and England, probably a electric Jug/Kettle, we love tea!) the Companion itself has a tablet integrated into it which has the Conpago App pre loaded onto it. The App itself will be the only function available on the tablet to limit functions, and avoid confusion. In the future we aim to have the Companion interface with wearable technology, such as Apple Watches. Adding more home appliances, such as smartTVs will also be possible. Caregivers and loved ones will all be able to download the app to their smartphones or use the browser on their desktop.
'How many people with dementia are currently comfortable using tablets? Do you have a sense of this?'
The companion acts passive way to connect seniors with dementia slowly and over time. Because the companion connects to habituated appliances that are associated to long term memories such as making a cup of tea. Settings can be adjusted so that when they make a cup of tea the Companion will read out messages and calendar events. As the seniors get more familiar with the tablet and it becomes a part of the daily routine they can use some of the more advanced functions, such as video calling.
'It seems Conpago would integrate into existing habits - how about the user experience for the person with dementia? Is that natural or do you think it would require some onboarding?'
There is strong research to suggest that people coping with dementia should engage in a routine as early as possible, as forming a pattern of behaviour can lessen the effects of short-term memory loss. Although we do not expect people with late stage dementia to be able to interface with device directly, passive interfacing via a kettle will still be possible if it’s part of the existing routine. We aim to have this product in the hands of people while still in the early stages of dementia, while routines are being formulated. We aim to have the interface as simple as possible, utilizing as many visual cues as possible. The aim is to require little to no onboarding.
I hope that has cleared a couple of things up, we are always keen to hear your feedback :)