A groundbreaking research project led by University of Melbourne researchers has been awarded a substantial funding of A$2 million ($1.3 million) and support from Google.org. The project, known as MATCH (Music Attuned Technology – Care via eHealth), aims to provide music-based interventions to regulate the mood of individuals with dementia and ultimately decrease the prevalence of challenging behaviors associated with the condition.
The funding will be primarily utilized to develop wearable sensors and AI-enabled music adaptive systems as part of the MATCH project. The initial phase of the project involved the creation of a prototype training app for caregivers, complete with a carefully curated playlist for targeted intervention. With the new grant, the team aims to integrate a music-adaptive system into the existing app. The AI system will learn and analyze each user’s unique agitation behaviors and deliver suitable music interventions through wearable sensors. The goal is to synchronize and treat the agitation experienced by individuals with dementia, providing them with a sense of calm and comfort.
Professor Lars Kulik, the lead researcher overseeing the AI development and integration of sensor data in the MATCH project, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We will be able to develop a device, similar to a smartwatch, that can monitor movement, heart rate, and other biomarkers. Should it detect signs of agitation, the app will play music from a curated playlist designed to soothe and calm them. If the initial music choice isn’t effective, it will continue to change tracks until the person’s state stabilizes.”
The significance of this research project stems from the fact that approximately nine out of ten people living with dementia display agitation, which poses significant challenges for both individuals and their caregivers. The use of music and art therapy has been recommended by the Australian government as a means to alleviate agitation among individuals with dementia, but the shortage of music therapists remains a barrier to meeting this recommendation.
By combining music therapy, wearable sensors, and AI technology, the MATCH project aims to address this challenge and improve the overall quality of life for individuals living with dementia. The researchers believe that their music attunement intervention has the potential to reduce agitation and lower the costs of dementia care. This innovative approach may also diminish the reliance on pharmacological interventions, which often lead to increased confusion and undesirable side effects for patients.
To further advance their research, the team behind the MATCH project is actively seeking participation from residential aged care homes and individuals living with dementia. Their goal is to test and refine their prototype app and upcoming music-adaptive system, ensuring they create effective solutions that truly benefit those living with dementia.
Q: What is the MATCH project?
A: The MATCH (Music Attuned Technology – Care via eHealth) project aims to provide music-based interventions to regulate the mood of individuals with dementia.
Q: What is the funding amount received from Google.org?
A: The MATCH project has received a funding of A$2 million ($1.3 million) from Google.org.
Q: What will the funding be used for?
A: The funding will primarily be utilized to develop wearable sensors and AI-enabled music adaptive systems for the MATCH project.
Q: How will the music-adaptive system work?
A: The music-adaptive system will analyze each user’s unique agitation behaviors using wearable sensors and deliver personalized music interventions to soothe and calm individuals with dementia.
Q: What are the potential benefits of the MATCH project?
A: The MATCH project has the potential to reduce agitation, lower the costs of dementia care, and decrease reliance on pharmacological interventions with potential side effects.