Faced with research pointing to the growth of Alzheimer's cases in the world, the project had as its main challenge to reduce Alzheimer's acceleration in the elderly.
A toy that stimulates the thinking of older people with Alzheimer's through a solution that rescues childhood and provides fun and entertainment.
Tamá was invited to exhibit and represent the college at the Design Weekend event in 2016.
According to ADI (2010), the increase in the incidence of the disease in the elderly population practically doubles every 20 years. The number of Alzheimer's patients is forecast to reach 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050. Currently, 58% of the population with Alzheimer's is in developed countries; the percentage that will reach 72% by 2050.
In addition to pharmacological treatment, there are studies of other treatment alternatives for Alzheimer's. According to Dr. John Harrison, a psychologist at the Imperial College London Medical Department, games can complement the treatment of the disease by stimulating five different brain areas: executive functioning - responsible for strategizing; memory work - responsible for the ability to use information and techniques we have learned; attention and concentration; episodic memory - which is the ability to remember an event; and finally, psychomotor skills - which is the speed with which we respond to events.
Alzheimer's disease is an incurable disease that gets worse over time, but it can and should be treated. In general, the disease presents as dementia, or loss of cognitive functions (memory, orientation, attention, and language), caused by the death of brain cells.
Among the three phases of Alzheimer's, the project was specifically focused on the first phase because when Alzheimer's is diagnosed early, it can slow its progress and have more control over symptoms, ensuring a better quality of life for the patient and family.
One of the main differentials of Tamá is the mechanics, which was developed to stimulate the reasoning and memory mainly of elderly people with Alzheimer's onset, without excluding other users. The game seeks to create a playful environment to promote interaction between people and at the same time be productive in stimulating their cognitive functions.
The game consists of rounds. Whoever wins the round wins a piece to build the tower. All rounds should follow the steps below:
Step 1: One of the teams must draw a card from the deck, from which the people on that team must follow the card's instructions and build some form.
Step 2: The opposing team must build the same shape. If you get it right, you get 2 points.
Teams must alternate to raffle the deck. Who reaches 10 points before, wins the game.
The main component of Tamá is the set of pieces made with Pinus wood - chosen for design because it is a typical Brazilian wood. These pieces have different shapes in order to provide as many combinations as possible. They have simple models with different colors so that the elderly have no difficulty in differentiating them. Each piece of wood has some magnets, which serve to guide the fittings between the woods.
By constructing the shapes with the pieces, the user mainly stimulates creativity and imagination. And by replicating the adversary model, the elderly work the question of reasoning and memory, because it is necessary to create a strategy to arrive at the same constructed form (strategy that is based on the differentiation between the pieces); the motor coordination, when handling the little pieces of wood; and attention and concentration to the extent that the Tamá “holds” the elderly in the mechanics of the game. In addition to the fun and interaction with other people.
Before I could reach the final solution, I could test with 7 seniors to gather feedback on the solution.
We were able to validate a hypothesis we had was that part shapes and magnets would serve as guides to help users find the best fittings. And a very good insight that we had was that the colors would help a lot to differentiate one piece from another, and consequently better understand the shapes to have better fittings.