Tactile Dialogues, a textile object in the form of a pillow, is designed with integrated vibration elements that react to touch. The goal is to enable a dialogue by triggering physical communication patterns between a person with severe dementia (the care receiver) and the care giver. In addition, it also responds to activity and hand movement, which is important for people with dementia.
The object can be used in spaces where two people are sitting, such as at a table, couch or over the armrests of a wheelchair. When integrated vibration elements in the object are touched (by rubbing, stroking or pushing) a soft vibration can be felt from multiple locations on the object. When both sides are touched simultaneously, the vibration will increase. This stimulates small movements and social connection between the people using the pillow, and allows for dialogue based on physical interaction to appear.
An earlier prototype of the blanket was tested with five pairs of care receivers and care givers, which showed that it has potential for often difficult visits where conversation is not possible.
Development of the project is a collaboration among Eindhoven University of Technology (Martijn ten Bhömer), De Wever Borre Akkersdijk, Optima Textiles BV and Metatronics. It is also part of larger project, Design United, which is the platform for Dutch Research in Design of the 3TU Industrial Design program. The three Dutch universities of technology (TU Delft, Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Twente) have a larger mission to conduct research of an international standard and promote cooperation between research institutes and businesses.