Industrial - Bachelors

The Dementia Connect

Dementia Connect is a digital device where family members upload videos and photos through an integrated app to their Dementia relative. The device aims to improve communication between families, while also allowing the Dementia relative to view their family memories in a more simplistic, and familiar way.

Topic & Research Summary

The Dementia space is still quite underdeveloped. The area was chosen as the focus was on making life easier, and finding a solution to assist Dementia patients in being closer to the community and family. As the disease progresses further into the middle to later stages, contact with family is lost, or lessened drastically.

The research consisted of an online survey (4 participants), in-person interviews (2 participants), and observations (2 participants). Although the survey did not gather many responses, the participants had reputable careers, (that being doctors, and a research nurse). The two interviews and observations were undertaken with a Dementia research nurse and support carer. All together, the main factors to note down were that public awareness is minuscule, and human interaction is important to their mental wellbeing.

Below is the research report, that was completed prior to the product development.
Research Report
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4 MB
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Ideation & Direction

From the research gathered from the participants and the research report from earlier in the semester, a direction towards a memory device for home use was chosen. The goal was to design a product that can assist Dementia patients who are in care homes, see more of their families’ lives and activities, without having to wait until they are visited. This device also aids in being a memory ‘spark’ for the Dementia relative forgetting who their family are.

Initial sketches & Dimensions

Introducing Dementia Connect

As a result of the research and ideation, the Dementia Connect was created. This device aims to improve communication between Dementia relatives and their families, where family members upload videos and photos through an integrated app. Although sharing a similar design to a tablet or digital picture frame, this device separates itself by fulfilling one goal; being easy and familiar to use, and help with memory deterioration of family.


The Dementia Connect features familiar front facing controls, an attention violet LED bar, a calming white design, and an IR sensor to turn on/ off the device if the patient is detected/ no longer detected. The device stands similarly to an old picture frame or a digital one, where the back stand is pivoted away from the device to obtain an appropriate angle for the user.

From the research, violet and strong contrasting colours where seen as preferred colours for people with Dementia. The LED bar that surrounds the screen reflects that violet research, and is always on, but is faint. It will also pulsate when there is new content. The IR sensor is to serve as the devices ‘sleep mode’. This reflects my primary research where often people living with Dementia may forget to turn off devices, which may cause unnecessary light at night and noise. Using this module, the device will turn on when the patient is detected, and go to sleep if the patient is away.

Stands & Pairing

Two kickstands can be configured onto the rear of the device. One is wider, with a gap for the patient’s hand, which would be more suitable for Arthritis use. The other is of a familiar design to an old picture frame stand, which assists with familiar cues to what they grew up with (family pictures etc.).

To start sharing content, the QR code on the rear is scanned, which downloads the integrated app and pairs to this specific device.

This device seeks to assist them in possible loneliness, or when experiencing a sense of exclusion, caused by not seeing family for long periods of time.

Context, storyboard, & animation video

Values & Development

The Dementia Connect is Valuable as it assists Dementia patients in possible loneliness or when experiencing a sense of exclusion, caused by not seeing family for long periods of time.

It is Innovative in bringing a non-confusing tablet-like experience to Dementia patients that did not grow up with this technology.

It is Purposeful in keeping the Dementia relative within the loop of their families’ lives and activities.

The device is Functional in how it can navigate through uploaded content from the family, with ease and familiarity.

Usable in the way that the frontal buttons are tactile, and they are easy to read and differentiate for the user group.

It is Enjoyable in how it effortlessly fits onto any kitchen top and can be watched for hours on end.

It is Manufacturable in its process. That being injection moulding, stock parts and PCB fabrication processes. The total device was estimated to cost around $310.25

The Dementia Connect is Detailed in its gloss white finish, tactile buttons, easily adjustable kickstand, along with anthropometrics being considered for older patients.

Design Development Record

Part 1
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6 MB
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Part 2
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7 MB
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Dean Buiatti

Dean is a Brisbane-based Industrial Designer, who seeks to constantly learn and adapt new things with a playfulness, and enthusiastic personality. Throughout his studies, Dean has found interest in sustainable design, and how new materials can further a products lifespan.