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HILDE - Project profile
In nursing facilities, visitation bans, especially recently in Corona times, temporarily caused social isolation and loneliness. This situation has highlighted the need for bridging strategies of spatial and social distances. While social isolation refers to an objectively measurable lack of social contacts and relationships, the term loneliness describes a subjectively perceived discrepancy between the desired and actual intensity and quality of social relationships. For many people, experiencing loneliness is a deeply stressful experience that can be associated with feelings of despair, anxiety, inferiority, meaninglessness, and even a death wish. Social networks can positively influence the quality of life of people in old age, friendly ones even more than familial ones, and are considered a protective factor against loneliness.
Objectives and procedure
The HILDE project aims to expand sensory communication through video telephony and communication over distance. The sense of touch is the most basic human sense and has a high importance for social exchange. It has been proven that haptic stimulation can positively influence cognitive and mental abilities and thus well-being and autonomy. Users should not only be able to see and hear their counterparts, but also to feel and grasp them and use their hands and bodies for communication.
Innovations and perspectives
HILDE connects spatially separated elderly people via modal interaction channels and promotes a sense of connection via auditory, visual and haptic elements. The system is modularly designed so that it can be applied to the different needs and resources of the heterogeneous group of older people. Through interactive objects, the so-called TUI, they are enabled to get in touch with their friends or relatives in an easier, more self-determined and playful way and to share common activities, such as games, over distance. TUI extend the real world as a (tangible) human-technology interface by coupling everyday objects and environments with digital information. The technology disappears into familiar objects, lowering the inhibition threshold to interact with these objects, especially for older people. The HILDE system is based on a tablet that uses the TUI to expand the physical space for the special needs of the senior:in.