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Visionary Designer Creates Devices to Help Dementia Patients Explore the Web

Where most designers with a focus on senior living strive to make tasks easier, Tommy Dykes hopes his designs will encourage curiosity and promote conversation.

As Kyle Vanhemert writes over at Wired, designers who create products and devices for the elderly tend to operate from a position of “how can I solve this specific problem?” or “how can I make a task easier for seniors?” That’s why the devices created by British doctoral student Tommy Dykes are so refreshing. Dykes eschews the common refrain and instead seeks to offer the elderly (in particular those suffering from dementia) a bright new way of exploring the world via the internet.


Among his innovations is a modified Scrabble set (featured in the video below) that allows users to form Flickr search terms. Spelling out the word “kitten” produces a photo slideshow of search results:

Another of Dykes’ designs is device that utilizes a physical print of a local Google Map so that users can explore their city via Google’s street view. This one is particularly impressive in that it features an intuitive analog system that produces digital results:

As you can see in the above videos, each design encourages exploration and allows users something physical to touch and play with. Dykes’ prototypes will be put to use in a care center in Newcastle later this year. His hope is that the novelty of his inventions will fuel the amazement of those suffering from dementia.

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You can learn more about Tommy Dykes at his website and by reading the aforementioned piece at Wired, linked again below. 

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: sergign / Shutterstock


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