This is a partnership project with the Mixed Reality Lab, The University of Nottingham.
In collaboration with The Abbeyfield Society, an Elderly Care Provider, we intend to design and deploy a new instantiation of biofeedback architecture in the dementia unit Kenyon Lodge of Sycamore House, Nottingham.
Biofeedback Architecture responds in real-time to the respiration of its inhabitants. Previous laboratory studies of a prototype called ExoBuilding have shown that inhabitants of ExoBuilding tend to fall into slower and deeper breathing patterns without having been instructed to do so. Slow and deep respiration has been linked to improved relaxation and resilience, and generally improving health.
Our new design will enable two people to share their experience of biofeedback architecture. While co-located in the same space each inhabitant will be able to interact independently with the structure using his or her own respiration. Both inhabitants will also be able to see their partner’s respiration pattern expressed in the environment.
The direct coupling with the physical environment may give inhabitants an increased sense of control over their physical environment, which is especially beneficial for people with dementia. Moreover, our own on-going laboratory studies indicate that sharing biofeedback can lead to the synchronisation of respiratory behaviours between the two inhabitants. This potential synchronization may have positive effects on, for example, memory and an improved interpersonal relationship of the synchronised pair, as other research has already shown.
We hope that biofeedback architecture will contribute positively to dementia care in particular, and more generally to elderly care.