Northumbria collaboration offers £20,000 towards new technology ideas for those affected by Dementia

3rd April 2017

Community-driven technologies could soon be helping families living with dementia, thanks to a new online competition.

Open Lab and Northumbria University have teamed up with Dementia Care and Sunderland Software City to deliver the competition, which opened for ideas on 27 March. Create4Dementia is the first in a series of LaunchSpot competitions to design technologies for mental health.

Create4Dementia will give members of the local community the chance to propose ideas for technologies to help enrich the lives of people with dementia. They will then be able to discuss and vote on each stage of the development process, using the LaunchSpot platform developed by research software developer Ed Jenkins at Newcastle University’s Open Lab.

Shaun Lawson, Professor of Social Computing at Northumbria University is one of five team members involved in this project. His research primarily explores the use and significance of social media, and other digital services, in people’s lives and he has conducted applied work in areas such as health and wellbeing, politics and activism, and sustainability.

Professor Lawson said: “It’s exciting to be a part of a process which aims to give the designing power explicitly back to the people who will benefit from the technology at hand.

“So often, people with mental health issues are sidelined by the services that aim to affect their futures. Create4Dementia by Launchspot is the first foray into doing this on a wider scale than our usual academic workshops, and of course with the potential for real life impact at the end of the process.”

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with this number set to rise to over a million by 2025. The technology developed through Create4Dementia will be designed by people with experience of dementia, whether in the personal or professional lives.

As well as proposing ideas for technologies, members of the public will be able to comment on and discuss other proposals, with the most popular ideas going forward to a judging panel.

Ultimately, the process will lead to a new technology for people with dementia, their carers and families, designed by the community.

To take part in the competition, submit your idea by 17 April. For more information about the initiative and how to get involved, visit https://create4dementia.launchspot.co.uk/ .

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