The Un-intimidating Ukulele

This was created to understand how objects are recognised in relation to sound and music, the aim of this was to find out how people with dementia would react to different objects making different sounds. All complex components such as the strings, tuning keys and frets were removed to make it less intimidating and easier to play by simply touching it. The conclusion suggested that long-term memory was the most effective way to associate these relationships to assist with introducing new concepts. This method is also being tested in other areas of the care home:

Some providers are turning to retro-decorating, a relatively inexpensive answer to reassuring confused patients. Retro-decorating schemes see modern technologies replaced by older versions, surrounding dementia sufferers with objects from the past to trigger their memory, and using and colour and light to make daily tasks simpler. Dementia causes the loss of short-term memory, which can cause distress and often anger in patients who become confused about who and where they are. By providing an environment which patients remember, either through the use of colour, design or objects, retro-decorating reassures and provides triggers to remind them to follow a daily routine.

– Kate McCann, The Guardian

How does it work?

Using the same technology as the Piano Zimmer Frame the vibrations absorbed through tapping are turned into music by converting acoustic impulses into MIDI messages.


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