What are we working on?

Our team is working on developing a personalized music application for patients with dementia or Autism (ASD). In our vision, each patient will have songs suggested to them according to the personal information inputted in the application. Our ultimate goal is that the songs generated for each patient will trigger memories from their previous years and even induce lucid moments. After each song, patients will be able to write a brief journal entry. Patients could write about the memory that was triggered (if any) and their associated emotions. This would create a database of memories and emotions, and help patients long-term. Patients could return to previous entries and read their memories. This could potentially induce a lucid memories. For ASD patients, patients would input personal data which would then be used to generate a music playlist. When the application generates a song, ASD patients will be able to sing along, which would assist their language abilities including intonation and ability to communicate to others. To incorporate a degree of music education within this application, patients would be able to communicate with virtual therapists who can help ASD patients discuss their reactions to their songs as well as label emotions. Given the advantage of musical engagement in groups, we have also included a “group video chatting” feature in which patients can connect online and musically engage with each other according to recommendations. We believe that the virtuality and the personalization of our app is what makes it unique and accessible, as many patients do not have the luxury of being surrounded by similar patients and can often feel isolated in their homes.

Brief Description of our prototype

Our prototype focuses on building connections: both human and memory. The app is built around recommendations based on personal preferences and recollection. Patients who subscribe to our service will first have to describe/choose their symptoms and diagnosis. Following that, there will be a basic survey about the patient. The questionnaire will request general information such as date of birth, hometown, place of education, gender, favorite vacation spot, veteran status and etc. This information will be used to personalize further in-depth questions per patient. For instance, based on the date of birth and hometown, the app can recommend/ask a playlist comprised of songs that were famous among people that were born in that era and location. If the app correctly expected the playlist, it moves on to ask the mood of the day to finalize the playlist it will play for the day. In playing, there will be a window of three different choices (it is easy to understand in comparison with Spotify). It will first reveal the album cover and the lyrics to revoke memory for the patients. Just in case this is not sufficient, there will be a further assistance of music videos and the history section about the music’s background.

The most important part comes after listening to the music. Our app incorporates a journal feature, in which a patient can record how they felt about the music, what memories it evoked for treatment purpose. Each journal will be compiled into a log and the app will organize what particular songs, words, melodies led to certain types of memories. In order to do so, each time the app plays a certain playlist, it will reorganize questions based on the previous journal.

Furthermore, the app offers a special P2P connection. Understanding that many of the ASD patients lack social and communicative skills, we aim to improve this by connecting their special music understanding ability with certified therapist on the virtual setting. After listening to the music, the patients have the option to continue their treatment by video calls with other individuals. It is not necessary that they know the individual they are talking to is a therapist or any certified authority. While the patients can think of P2P as a fun personal connection activity, the individuals that handle the virtual call need to be certified enough. As of now, we were thinking of med/nursing school students who further needs community service credits for completing their degrees, professionals who are willing to earn extra pocket money. In the following call, patients are free to express their emotions regarding the music they have just listened to. Through such programs, we see the app as an interactive treatment rather than passive.