Dementia Time Capsule
There are currently 850,000 people in the UK with Dementia. 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime.
Music is neurologically special. If your brain was scanned while you listened to your favourite music, the screen would light up like a fireworks display. Even if dementia erodes one part of your brain, music can still reach other parts to tap into emotions, memories and abilities thought lost. The results can be astonishing – and profoundly moving. Recent research has undoubtedly demonstrated benefit of music to help people living with dementia.
Enter the dementia time capsule. A “whenever-you-like” product that helps dementia patients become more cognitively aware through the music they enjoy, irrespective of how much the carer knows about their music tastes. It’s a physical, portable music player that has a simple interface to input the patient's date of birth, play/pause buttons, volume slider and speakers.
The device houses sensors that understands emotions, by using machine learning (ML). This tracks the patients reactions to the songs being played (based on their date of birth), and refines the playlist automatically. The machine learning software actively learns the listeners preferences and starts to adapt the playlist to more of the types of music they like. Where once dementia carers might know a few CD’s worth of audio the patient likes, now they have thousands of songs that have been automatically selected and curated based on the reactions of the patient.
When Spotify credentials are entered, the box builds a generic playlist from an idea selected via the hardware interface. Once playing audio, a camera feed is inputted into our ML algorithm. This feed is then split into three processes:
- • Emotion recognition - We understanding and giving a count to the users emotions throughout the song
- • Movement - understanding how much movement the user was giving off throughout the song.
- • Heartbeat - understanding the users heartbeat throughout the song. Once a baseline has been established, we score against that.
Once a song has been complete, the machine learning algorithm totals up the weighted values of each process to conclude if the user likes or dislikes the song.
The Dementia Time Capsule is apart of an internal We Are Social project, alongside dementia charities. It's was being tested in care homes, until COVID-19 hit.