Improve an existing product for healthcare

Engineering students are tasked with improving an existing product so that it helps elderly or caregivers with their mental or physical health.

In a project group, students chose to help lonely elderly people living with dementia. They have chosen to give a teddy bear more functions so that it can promote the mental health of elderly people suffering from dementia.


The idea has been developed into a prototype. A lot of testing was done to find out how the operation could be ideal. Figure 1 includes a picture of the final concept. The electrical elements have been incorporated into the bear itself.

  • To record sound, there is a red button on the back of the bear.
  • To play sound, there is a button in the bear's left hand.
  • 2 indicator lights have been added. 1 light gives an indication of whether the circuit is powered. The other indicator light is also located on the back of the bear. This light indicates when a sound is being recorded.
  • The scent strip is placed in the bear's neck. The scent strip can be replaced and any desired scent can be sprayed onto this.


As there is not yet a clear picture of at which stage(s) of dementia the product is most effective, participants from different stages of dementia will test the product.

The product was tested on eight elderly people suffering from dementia. Afterwards, interviews were also conducted to record the findings. The idea is to incorporate these again in the improvement of the product so that it can really be developed for this target group.

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