Tactile Dialogues is a textile object in the form of a pillow with integrated vibration elements that react to touch. The goal of the textile object is to enable a dialogue by triggering physical communication patterns between a person with severe dementia (the care receiver) and a family-member, spouse or caretaker (the care giver). In addition, the object 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, e.g at a table, couch or over the armrests of a wheelchair. The object consists of a textile with integrated vibration elements. When these elements 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, it allows for a dialogue based on physical interaction to appear.
An earlier prototype of the blanket has been tested with five pairs of each a care receiver and a care giver. These tests showed that the object has potential for often difficult visits where conversation is not possible. However, long-term testing is required to find out the true impact of the product.
This Smart Textile Service was developed by TU/e (Martijn ten Bhömer, Oscar Tomico), De Wever, byBorre, Optima Knit and Metatronics.