Sjoerd Wennekes is the co-founder of Tover, a Dutch company that specializes in interactive games for people with severe cognitive disabilities, and he joined us at CES 2021 to tell us about their signature product, Tovertafel.
Tovertafel, or Magic Table, is an interactive gaming system for people with late-stage dementia or other cognitive impairments. Using a ceiling-mounted projector equipped with computer hardware and sensors, the device projects images onto any existing table in a care facility, creating simple interactive games for life enrichment. The games are played by touching the projected images, for instance, the action of swiping away projected autumn leaves or bouncing the image of beach ball back and forth between one another.
Tovertafel is a care home-friendly system, requiring no connections to external computers, or any sophisticated installation process. The ceiling-mounted device has a wide-angle lens with an adjustable projection field that can be used on any size table. Family members or staff can easily use the remote and get right to playing together without the need for special instructions.
While the projection technology is not new, how Tover utilizes it is unique. The company focuses on late-stage dementia patients who lack the ability to activate themselves, those typically living in long term care facilities who are often subject to apathy - the total lack of feeling and emotions which is the primary cause of death in dementia patients. Tovertafel games are designed to stimulate the portions of the brain that are not damaged by diseases like Alzheimer's so that even people in the last stages of dementia can experience some joyful quality of life.
Care professionals utilizing the system have noted that patients playing Tovertafel games are more physically active, engage in more social activity, and seem to experience more joy and less sadness while playing with the Magic Table. They've also found the system improves the relationship between caregivers and residents and increases happiness for care professionals, family members, and friends alike.
Tovertafel is used in over 5000 cognitive care facilities in 12 countries. The company is launching in North America this spring.
Visit the company's website to learn more.
Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.