I have been making steady progress with my research project since the beginning of the year and a meeting with my supervisors yesterday helped to bring together the work I have been doing. I have summarised what I have been up to below so you can stay in the loop. Happy reading!
Read, Write, Repeat
My current focus is on developing a literature review, which maps out the background of dementia and assistive technology, and identifies existing solutions for helping people with dementia to complete tasks in the home.
Importantly, the literature review also highlights the gap in our knowledge. In the case of my project, the area I will show is that augmented reality (AR) has not been tried as a tool for task prompting for people with dementia.
Along with this, I have been looking through the literature in order to collate a list of activities of daily living that are commonly mentioned, as well as problems people living with dementia experience at home. I want to make sure that I consider activities that people actually want to do, whilst also allowing my work to be transferable to other contexts and activities.
I am sifting through these to find ones that are appropriate for and within the scope of my project. For example, dressing is often mentioned, but the privacy implications and complexity of this task make it unsuitable for my project. On the other hand, preparing food and drinks are also regularly mentioned and do not have these privacy concerns. Indeed, making a cup of tea or coffee has been my go-to activity up until now, but I want to find others that are also suitable.
Learning from Professionals
When I have identified appropriate activities, I plan on conducting interviews with professionals who have experience working with people with dementia. This is so I can check I have the right activities and learn from the experience of my interviewees about how they support people with dementia to complete these tasks.
It's of course also of vital importance to ask Experts by Experience (those directly affected by dementia), which I will be able to do once I have approval to set up a steering group.
After this, I will start developing prototypes of how task prompting could be carried out in AR, relating as much as possible existing strategies for supporting someone to complete tasks at home with the AR representations. I am expecting a bit of a learning curve in terms of developing applications, though I have already had a go, but I am excited to finally start developing AR tools and testing them out.
Read, Write, Repeat... Again
But first, I need to finish my literature review, or at least a first draft; they almost always end up being reorganised further down the line. That means February is likely to be a quiet month. Slow and steady wins the race!