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demedartsWalker Design


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Walker, Design by Ruth Mateus-Berr & Pia Scharler

Steel, Bodysurfboard, Neoprene handles, Swimming goggles & towel



SURFER is a rollator that has been developed for people who need a rollator and enjoy surfing. This rollator is aimed at young people who enjoy surfing, as they are not immune to the development of dementia. The bodyboard and the blue color are reminiscent of the sea and waves, while the neoprene handles are reminiscent of a surfer's suit. 

The color blue**** the color blue is the favorite color of most people and at the same time a symbol for the color of unlimited dimensions, it is divine and associated with the sea.

This can also create an interaction that can have a positive effect on people with dementia with a basic withdrawal behavior and experience of loneliness, as it can be assumed that people are attracted to rollators designed in this way. This draws on experiences from reminiscence therapy*, which deals with memories from personal biographies. This is supplemented by haptic** and olfactory design*** in relation to body memories, which still require a great deal of research in relation to dementia research.

This walker stands for Critical Design, which is a design style that criticizes things or conditions, here it draws attention to a deficiency in design and demands the right to a self-determined and self-confident aesthetic. The objects are not intended for actual use, they are intended to contribute to a change in design.

*Bluck, S., & Levine, L. J. (1998). Reminiszenz als autobiographisches Gedächtnis: Ein Katalysator für die Entwicklung der Reminiszenztheorie. Ageing & Society, 18(2), 185-208.

**It is likely that the lack of touch makes actual interpersonal contact more difficult in remote conversations, as the senses play an important role in social interactions. This is likely even more important for populations that have difficulty verbalizing or have cognitive issues. It has also been shown that communicating via a tactile modality can lead to more personal conversations. Care home residents and people with dementia tend to prefer more natural tactile devices.

>Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; American Psychiatric Association Publishing: Washington, DC, USA, 2022; ISBN 0-89042-575-2. [Google Scholar]

>Langland, R.M.; Panicucci, C.L. Effects of Touch on Communication with Elderly Confused Clients. J. Gerontol. Nurs. 1982, 8, 152-155. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]

>Ipakchian Askari, S. Getrennt durch Entfernung, verbunden durch Technologie? Wahrnehmungen, Erfahrungen und Reaktionen auf affektive haptische Geräte. Dissertation, Technische Universität Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Niederlande, 2022. [Google Scholar]

>Vasseur, Dianne, Sima Ipakchian Askari, Sandra Suijkerbuijk, Henk Herman Nap, und Wijnand IJsselsteijn. 2024. "Sensory, Affective, and Social Experiences with Haptic Devices in Intramural Care Practice" Nursing Reports 14, no. 1: 230-253.

***Caution: In Alzheimer's dementia patients (60-70%), olfactory dysfunction is usually manifested by a reduced ability to smell, known as hyposmia. In contrast to congenital anosmia, olfactory deficits in Alzheimer's patients occur in the preclinical stages of the disease before the cardinal symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia manifest themselves.

>Vyhnalek M, Magerova H, Andel R, et al. Olfactory identification in amnestic and non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment and its neuropsychological correlates. J Neurol Sci. 2015;349:179-184. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.01.014.

DEMEDARTS is an artistic research project of the Center for Didactics for Art and Interdisciplinary Education at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), within the PEEK-program (Programm zur Erweiterung und Erschließung der Künste): A-609 ; Project DOI: 10.55776/AR609

The project runs from: February 2020 – January 2023


2024 Arte Laguna Prize for Art & Design. International Prize for Contemporary Art.

AWARD FUNDER: Italian Cultural association MoCA (Modern Contemporary Art)

Ruth Mateus-Berr and Pia Scharler

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