TerugblikTV is a product for people suffering from dementia to stay in touch with their relatives.

Our goal for this project was clear: Reminiscence. While short-term memory is heavily damaged by dementia, long-term memories can often still evoke powerful emotions – good and bad. From research, we learned that by making a product look aesthetically like an object of a client’s youth, the client would have an easier time interacting with it. They felt like modern products looked too complicated and familiar. Therefore, we decided to design a product that has the look and feel of an older device, but still with modern computing power and features.

After multiple iterations and prototypes, we landed on TerugblikTV. We designed the device to look like a TV from the 50s, with large knobs and dials. The screen was an iPad in disguise, connected to an Arduino microprocessor. The Arduino handled the input from the dials and communicated with a TerugblikTV app we built for the iPad. The iPad was connected to the internet and using the TerugblikTV app we could upload videos to the device. This allowed us to replicate “TV channels”, where the user can turn the knobs to go from channel to channel. The channels consisted not only of old classic movies and recordings, but we also allowed family members of the user to upload their own homemade videos. This way, they could connect with their loved ones in a care home even if they do not have the time to travel. The videos are sent in a simple way, and the client with dementia does not have to struggle with modern technology to view them. They already know intuitively how to use the TerugblikTV, and they can change the channel to see videos of their family and friends with ease.

TerugblikTV was a turning point for me as a designer. It opened my eyes to the power of design and how taking a few steps back can truly change your outlook on a project. At the halfway mark of the semester, we still didn’t know what product we were trying to create, and we were still struggling with the design space of a care home. Going back to the drawing board and finding a new way to connect with the client allowed us to scrap our previous ideas and start fresh. When we built our first prototype and showed it to a user, we realised we hit the jackpot.

This project was filled with challenges, both social and technical, and honestly, I could talk about it for days. If the process and the design interest you: reach out to me. I would love to talk more about it.

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