By StaffsLive Reporter: A computer game that aims to stimulate people with dementia is among the projects being showcased at Staffordshire University.
The GradEx 2012 event takes place at the Stafford campus on Thursday (May 24) and features the final year project work of 330 students in the technology, computing and engineering sectors.
Among the standout projects is one from computer games design student Zohabe Aziz who has used his experience as a carer for people with dementia to design a game aimed at stimulating their memories.
Life in Memory Lane involves the user recreating themselves and their lives through gameplay. Players are encouraged to choose an occupation, personality traits, physical feature and geographical location complete with landmarks such as the post office, chemist and pub. The character is encouraged to work through a series of everyday tasks to ‘unlock a memory’ which will appear as music or video designed to evoke real memories.
Zohabe, 23, said: “This is something I’m really passionate about,” said 23-year-old Zohabe. “A lot of games and activities do not relate to people with dementia.
“I’ve tried to relate mine to the person and their experiences to keep their memories intact while keeping the design simple and user-friendly so they can navigate their way through the game using quite large buttons.”
Zohabe, who works part-time as a support worker for Belong in Crewe, has presented his ideas to residents and staff in the specialist care setting where he works and to representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society.
Kerry Fisher from Belong described Zohabe’s game as an “essential development for person-centred care” and an enjoyable way in which support staff may get to know a person and their life story.
“Zohabe has applied his understanding of the nature of dementia, how it affects a person’s doing abilities but also the potential for even a diseased brain to retain the ability to make new neurological connections,” she said.
Products designed to improve the lives of others is a recurring theme at GradEX. This year’s innovations include a CD chooser robot designed by robotic engineering student Vincent Le Merdy, sonar-equipped shoes to assist visually impaired people worked on by mechatronics student Maria Jose Perez Calvo and an automatic door opener that can be fitted to the wheelchair or walking aid designed by mechanical engineering student Thomas Weirich.
For more information about GradEX 2012 visit the Staffordshire University website.