Technology creating connections

 

Augmented reality has arrived in Opal care homes, posing new ways for residents living in aged care to connect with others using the latest interactive technology.

We have begun trialling ROMPA® interactive projectors in a number of our homes. These immersive sensory devices enable a whole world of opportunities for people to interact alone or in a group environment. The dynamic displays are controlled using gestures and movements by participants, enabling opportunities for learning, imagination, reminiscence, and interaction with others. With over 500 apps, including games, meditative experiences, quizzes and programs based around hobbies and interests, residents have a virtually endless choice of activities to engage in. Interacting with the ROMPA® system might involve pushing a virtual ball across a field, sweeping a hand through a pond to make the fish swim, or scattering fallen autumn leaves with an arm gesture.

Research suggests that the pairing of mental and physical stimulation in a familiar environment can release dopamine in the brain and has the potential to positively affect memory management. Opal’s Design Manager, Brad Sebastiao, is leading the trial and is enthusiastic about the benefits of the technology for our residents.

Brad shares, "I recently introduced the ROMPA® projector to a group of our residents. We started with the fish pond app and I could tell by the look in her eyes that it had really touched one resident, Dorothy." He says the device provided a link for Dorothy to reminisce and share her life as a teacher, living in Queensland some years earlier.

“We spent another hour together and used several of the apps which had a similar effect of evoking a special memory that she could share. It was such a powerful thing to be able to share in her life, triggered through the visual cues she was experiencing with the system.”