Tumbler: Interactive Soundscape Player
Shortlisted for the IxDA 2022 Interaction Awards
Publication: Designing for Everyday Sounds at Home with People with Dementia and their Partners (CHI '22)
People with dementia and their partners living at home need support in recreational and social activities that result in positive emotions and meaningful experiences. Listening to everyday sounds or soundscapes evokes memories of the past, everyday conversations, and positive feelings from people with dementia. To enable these positive effects of sound in home environments, we designed the Tumbler as a tangible audio-based interface for people with dementia and their informal caregivers to play everyday sounds at home. The Tumbler offers intuitive interactions with personal audio content and soundscapes by stimulating exploration and inviting interactions. The Tumbler was designed in a way that avoids complex tasks as users cannot make any mistakes and every interaction triggers an appropriate sound or soundscape as output.
The Tumbler was developed as part of the Everyday Sounds of Dementia project, funded by ZonMw in the Create Health program in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology, Tilburg University, Archipel, and Slimmer Leven. The Tumbler prototypes were developed by Interactive Matter.
Users can interact with the Tumbler by holding the device in their hands and turning, shaking, rolling, tilting or tumbling it.
(a) The Tumbler is in sleep mode when the speaker is facing downwards.
(b) Tilting the speaker in any other direction activates the next everyday sound set, and resting the speaker oriented upwards plays the background sounds.
(c) The story cues are activated when the user shakes the Tumbler.
(d) Tumbling or tilting the Tumbler sideways activates a sound event.
(e) The user can select the next or previous sound event by rolling it to the left or to the right.
The Tumbler was designed with simple and modern aesthetics so it could fit in in everyday home environments. The Tumbler comes with a docking station to charge the portable speaker. The docking station also comes with an additional interface to adjust the volume, select a specific sound set, or even record new sounds.