" Four technology ideas have been chosen as the winners of Decoding Dementia, an initiative to break down barriers and support people living with dementia. "
Using technology to connect and inspire

Four technology ideas have been chosen as the winners of Decoding Dementia, an initiative to break down barriers and support people living with dementia.

The winners are: Matiu Bush for Audio Kinetic Jukebox; Nan Yu for My Dementia Companion; Nicc Johnson for Muru Music; and Anne-Louise and Mark Underwood for the MemBo Noticeboard.

The winners were chosen by an expert panel which included Dementia Advocates Dennis Frost and Joe Coppi, and Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe, who said the opportunity to help find the next technology solution was exciting.

“Dementia Australia has been a trailblazer in using technology to improve dementia care and we are proud to have led this project which should deliver even more solutions for people living with dementia so they can remain socially-included, accepted, independent, able to access high-quality health care and connected with the people and places they want,” Ms McCabe said.

The aim of Decoding Dementia is to find technology to:

  • assist people living with dementia to maintain their independence and remain in their homes for longer;
  • improve the care and quality of life for people living with dementia in their own home or in residential care; and
  • support families and carers to understand dementia, and to develop skills and strategies for caring.

The four winners will receive a share of up to $200,000 in in-kind support and Dementia Australia will co-design the support package with the winners based on their needs.

The winners are:

MemBo Noticeboard, which empowers people with dementia to live independently for as long as possible, and share the management of their day-to-day activities with family and carers. The app displays appointments, notes and photos on tablets and mobile phones, replacing the need for a physical noticeboard, calendar or diary. The information on display can be updated through the app or the family management hub, and can be accessed by multiple people at any time from any device or computer.​

For Mark and Anne-Louise Underwood, the team behind MemBo Noticeboard, Decoding Dementia has given them the push they need to keep going.

“Winning Decoding Dementia has proven to us that our belief in MemBo Noticeboard is right and that we can make a positive difference for people living with dementia and for their families and carers,” Mark and Anne-Louise Underwood said.

Muru Music, which uses artificial intelligence to create scalable, automated and personalised music experiences. It is designed to be controlled by family and carers to easily program and play the right music at the right time, providing music therapy tailored to the specific needs of individuals living with dementia.

Nicc Johnson, the innovator behind Muru Music, found that being involved with Decoding Dementia helped to refine his ideas to suit the target market for the product.

“Our go-to-market strategy changed and we were now more focused on pitching this directly to carers, family members and music therapists rather than facilities,” Mr Johnson said.

Audio Kinetic Jukebox, which combines music and movement through vibration technology embedded in a cinema chair. The person reclines in the chair and listens to music via headphones. The movement and music magnify the experience and benefits for listeners, overcoming cognitive and sensory changes that make experiences less enjoyable.

Team member Matiu Bush said the experience highlighted the importance of developing products that can be used at home, respite centres and in residential aged care.

“Participating in Decoding Dementia broadened the audience for the Audio Kinetic Jukebox and allowed us to gain positive feedback from people living with dementia,” Mr Bush said.  

My Dementia Companion, is a virtual care companion that empowers families living with the impact of dementia to live a more fulfilling life. It achieves this by leveraging machine learning to understand the needs of people with dementia and their families, and provide relevant and timely support throughout their journey.

Nan Yu developed My Dementia Companion through his extensive volunteering work with people living with dementia and in the aged care sector, as well as his experience as a clinical pharmacist. Through the Decoding Dementia Program Mr Yu refined his idea and found better ways to explain My Dementia Companion (i.e. his pitch) after taking on feedback from people living with dementia, as well as mentors.

“One of the biggest achievements was the ability for me to very succinctly articulate my product offering through a compelling story. This will enable me to bring My Dementia Companion to market quicker, so it can help more families living with the impact of dementia earlier,” Mr Yu said.

 Posted: November 17th, 2019
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