Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 78, Issue 10, pp 13517–13537 | Cite as

MemHolo: mixed reality experiences for subjects with Alzheimer’s disease

  • Beatrice AruannoEmail author
  • Franca Garzotto


HoloLens is the most recent and advanced forms of wearable Mixed Reality (MR) technology. It enables the user wearing a head-mounted device to experience 3D holographic objects “inside” the visualization of the real environment where he or she is located. Existing HoloLens applications have been developed in domains such as data visualization, entertainment, industrial training, education, and tourism, but the use of this technology in the arena of mental health is largely unexplored. The paper presents a HoloLens-based system called MemHolo that addresses persons with mild Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). AD is associated to a chronic progressive neurodegenerative process that severely affects cognitive functioning (especially memory) and some motor functions. MemHolo is intended to be used as a cognitive training tool to practice short-term and spatial memory in a safe and controlled virtual environment, and to mitigate the effects of mental decline. The paper discusses the design process of MemHolo, and describes three evaluation studies on progressive prototypes. To our knowledge, MemHolo is the first HoloLens application designed natively for persons with AD. Our empirical work sheds a light on how these people experience HoloLens applications, highlights some challenges and potential benefits of using MR technology in the AD arena, and may pave the ground towards new forms of treatment.


Mixed reality Augmented reality HoloLens Elderly Alzheimer disease (AD) Cognitive training 



We thank Dr. Valoriani and Dr. Oliveto from Sixth Element for their collaboration in the initial phase of our research. We are grateful Dr. Olivieri and his team at the Gerontological Division at the Hospital in Palermo for their contribution to MemHolo design process. Special thanks go to the staff and guests of the Filo di Arianna Center for their help during the evaluation process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Electronics, Information and BioengineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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