Sharing Memories: Co-Designing Assistive Technology with Aphasic Adults and Support Staff

Sharing Memories: Co-Designing Assistive Technology with Aphasic Adults and Support Staff

Kasper Rodil, Emil Byskov Nielsen, Jonathan Bernstorff Nielsen
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJSKD.2018010102
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This article describes how for people suffering from aphasia, everyday verbal and bodily interpersonal communication is challenging. To increase aphasics' ability to share memories, an assistive technology (the MemoryBook) was conceptualized based on explicit, observable and tacit knowledge gathered from the practices in which it was to be contextualized and through a close partnership between aphasics and their caretakers. The underlying design methodology for the MemoryBook is a participatory design manifested through the collaboration and creations by two aphasic residents and one member of the support staff. The idea of the MemoryBook is materialized, and inspired by a photo album, which uses photos and audio recordings to present memories digitally. The MemoryBook was evaluated and found to be a useful approach to a wicked problem of allowing aphasics to digitally capture and communicate memories without caretaker intervention.
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Assistive technologies are often used to help individuals suffering from aphasia to communicate. These technologies are known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. Most AAC devices aim to help the individual express their basic needs such as “I'm hungry…” or “I must go to the bathroom…” (Siriaraya & Ang, 2014). For AAC devices to transcend their usefulness in basic communication needs, they must be able to assist the aphasics with ways of communicating more personal matters.

With present-day technology constantly being available from your pocket, memories are often stored in digital form as photos, video and audio, while they are via the same technologies quickly and easily shared with family members and friends.

Extending the experiences of stored past events as memories to be experienced in the present has been the focus point for a selection of design projects. Common for many digital solutions is that they use physical objects from which the digital memory can be accessed to shape the space in which the memory sharing takes place. An example of this is the Resonant Rocking Chair by Bennett, Hinder, & Cater (2016), where a rocking chair is used as the gathering point for memory sharing. It imitates the old tradition of gathering around a knitting (grand)-mom telling stories in the evening. By allowing an MP3 player to be inserted, the chair can play recorded stories or music to the ones sitting in and/or around the chair. Thus, the Resonant Rocking Chair uses the audio modality to represent memories in the digital space.

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