This project is a collaboration between the IOCT and LOROS, the Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice, and follows on from the needs survey conducted by LOROS into patients requirements from new technologies. Early research has consisted of a series of Creative Sound experiments directed by Dr Rob Weale, using Soundscape Composition in a therapeutic way.
The aim of the project is to create a digital sensory room for therapeutic use, initially in hospices. The room will be scaleable and modular, and will integrate various digital technologies to provide a flexible and adaptable space that will address the needs of a variety of patients.
The major research question to be addressed is: how can we use digital technologies in therapeutic care?
The user’s experience of the room is divisible into two main modes. In active mode the user will be creative, interact, and explore tactile uses of digital technologies and fused media. In passive mode the user will receive sensory stimuli, enjoy media (movies, music, etc), and experience more immersive states. The room will also provide archivable communications with friends and family, or others beyond the immediate environment.
The digital technologies will be fully integrated through an underlying grid, with highly intuitive interfaces and interactivity that require little or no learning, but nevertheless offer potential for creativity and individual growth. These will be controllable in various ways depending upon the level of disability of the end-user.
The room will be able to remember the user and automatically configure to the state of the previous visit. It will be able to wirelessly monitor vital signs and be responsive to the user’s physical and emotional condition.
The room will contain a curved floor-to-ceiling screen for immersive experiences, with allied data projection, lighting and sound systems. Advanced air-conditioning and temperature controls will allow for scents and atmosphere to be created. All technologies will be wireless, and there will be no cables or computers in the room.
Although this room is envisaged for hospices, it will have potential applications beyond palliative care. In the long-term, digital sensory rooms will be developed for a range of therapeutic situations, including hospitals. In the short term, however, the highly specific requirements of palliative care provides a valuable and focusing constraint which will benefit both the technologists and the therapists.For further information please contact:
Prof Andrew Hugill
Email: ahu [at] dmu.ac.uk