A Google-funded project aiming to collide music therapy with wearable technology has been launched to treat senior citizens with dementia.
Backed by the Medical Research Future Fund, "Music Attuned Technology – Care via eHealth," or MATCH, is developing an artificial intelligence-powered tool with the help of a $1.3 million grant.
It works by using sensors on a wearable, which indicate when a person with dementia is becoming agitated. The AI learns from the patient's behavior and helps soothe them by finding music that best fits their mood, either tapping into a curated list from a caregiver or shuffling between tracks on its own.
One of the most unique aspects of the MATCH tech, which was developed at the University of Melbourne in Australia, is its ability to continuously adapt to an individual's musical inclinations in order to "meet their needs at the time." A training program accompanies the wearables to help caregivers as well.
"By combining the known therapeutic benefits of the patients’ personally preferred music with wearable sensor technology and AI that creates a bespoke music adaptive system, we will be able to provide early detection and treatment of agitation," University of Melbourne Professor Felicity Baker, who is the principal investigator of the MATCH project, said in a.
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Tapping into artificial intelligence, the wearable technology senses when a senior with dementia becomes agitated and soothes them using music therapy.
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Google has funded the project through its ", which allocated $25 million to a bevy of organizations using AI to accelerate progress on sustainable innovation in tech. A pilot program for MATCH is reportedly launching in Australia with the ultimate goal of a global rollout.
"Many carers of people with dementia recognize music’s value in supporting the wellbeing of a loved one," Baker added. "We are working to create a better everyday life for people living with dementia, their families, and carers on the dementia journey using the proven therapeutic benefits of music, alongside wearable sensors and AI."
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