Partners HealthCare researchers are committed to improving quality of life for all patients, including those who encounter significant challenges with everyday activities. For people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders, the simple act of getting dressed each day can be a complex ordeal. From the frustrations of logistics to the loss of privacy when help is needed, it encompasses the range of challenges associated with memory loss.
Enter DRESS (Development of a Responsive Emotive Sensing System), a “smart dresser” designed by researchers at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, with colleagues at New York University and Arizona State University. Comprised of five drawers, a tablet, camera, and motion sensor, the dresser prompts users to get dressed by accessing drawers preloaded by caregivers. It observes the user putting each item on, assessing with barcodes and tracking systems whether it is on correctly, evaluating the user’s stress level, and alerting caregivers if necessary.
Though currently in an early prototype phase, the technology has the potential to restore independence and privacy to the daily act of dressing for people with dementia.