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MRes Healthcare & Design (MRes)

Sidney Krandall

Intrinsic motivation to design a more sustainable built world fuels Sidney's fondness for acquiring new skills and perspectives. She believes that designing even the most fleeting experiences with consideration and intention will accumulatively facilitate improvements in the global human and environmental conditions. Her professional focus was pointed towards healthcare during her time as undergraduate design student at the University of Michigan where she volunteered at the American Cancer Society and the Veterans Affairs Hospital. These parallel experiences seeded a lasting curiosity about how the healthcare and design industries could work together towards sustainable healthcare systems and more robust design approaches. As Sidney moved forward in her career she has worked as a design researcher in a variety of industries including consumer goods, manufacturing, architecture, and journalism, while continuing to volunteer and tackle on design challenges of heathcare. These diverse experiences have granted her a holistic awareness of the complexities of implementing new systems; an awareness that she caries with her in every project. Through her work, Sidney has received several awards, fellowships, and grants while designing in the healthcare space including First Place at the Blockchain Labs SIBH Hackathon, the Palazzola Memorial Award, the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship Jump Start Grant, two consecutive fellowships at the Barger Leadership Institute, and Grand Prize at the University of Michigan OptiMize Social Innovation Competition.




Degree Details

School of Design

MRes Healthcare & Design (MRes)

Over the past two years in the Master of Research in Healthcare & Design program, Sidney focused her ambitions on building a platform to discuss challenges faced by people with dementia and dementia researchers alike. Her exhibition titled "Potentia Research Kit: Confronting Systematic Discrimination In Dementia Research Participation" discusses how research systems discriminate against research participants with dementia, while also suggesting a speculative intervention begin addressing this momentous problem. This project originally came about when Sidney experienced difficulty accessing permission to conduct non-invasive user experience research with people who have dementia. It became clear in my literature review that research systems value the protection of this demographic far more than it values their autonomy. Yet rather than building tools to help people with dementia
participate in research, they are frequently omitted from the research altogether. Exclusion of people with dementia from research has consequences far beyond that of one's right to exercise autonomy, it also means that dementia patients will not have a say in the systems and interventions that the research will later inform. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic challenged Sidney's research in unexpected ways, but perhaps most importantly new constraints on her work made it even more apparent how desperately the world tools to help people with dementia participate in research. As a result of their exclusion, the world continues to evolve without their consideration. Until we actively design against discrimination in dementia research, we will continue to see a harmful trickle-down impact on the health and financial outcomes of people with dementia, their families, and whole communities.   


Introduction to Key Features — The Potentia Research Kit is composed of both hardware and software elements as demonstrated in this guide. The Smart Pen and Smart Cards are used to translate written data form paper into the Potentia Application, while the wearable audio recorders contribute verbal data. From there the data is coded to guide qualitative researchers in navigating conversations with people who have any stage of dementia.


Landing Page

Interview Platform — This is the page

Interview Platform In Use

Warning Page — Warnings are given when the artificially intelligent software picks up on possible loss of capacity. This page demonstrates the indicators which led to the warning. The software can be trained to pick up on any pattern which suits the purposes of the research.

Code Details — This page demonstrates a more detailed chronological view of the code, as well as the researchers notes.

Participant Details


Callum modelling 1920jpg

For research participants with dementia, capacity to consent is fluid. This fluidity can be both legally and ethically intimidating for researchers, participants, and caregivers alike. Lack of systems and tools to aid in the inclusion of participants with dementia often leads to their omission and ultimately the exclusion of their input towards the infrastructure built to aid them. The Potentia Research Kit was designed to address this pressing issue by analysing patterns in the written and verbal cues of people with dementia to monitor consent and aid the researcher in guiding conversation; allowing them to better navigate the fluid nature of participant capacity. By comparing these participant cues to the researchers own verbal input and we can also glean more comprehensive understanding of how research approaches and other environmental factors might affect participant responses.

This tool is possible through an artificially intelligent learning platform which could learn the subtle nuances and patterns of participant's behaviours that a researcher might not have otherwise noticed and sorting it into qualitative code. Allowing an artificially intelligent software to live-code qualitative data permits the researcher to focus on engaging with the participant, without losing the data found in the nuances of the person-to-person interaction.

With an ageing global population that introduces 10 million new dementia patients every year, it is increasingly urgent that research tools and systems be designed to enable more inclusive and consistent participation in dementia research. Without data directly from end users, we will not be successful in designing interventions that accurately reflect their needs.


Digital, Paper
artificial intelligenceCommunicationdementiaDesign for social impactDesign MethodologyFuture of HealthcareHealthHealthcareInclusive DesignQualitative researchResearchUser Experience

Research Journey — This map demonstrates themes that emerged throughout Sidney's research in the Healthcare and Design program. Lewin's Action Research Method was used as a structure throughout this work, indicated by the three cycles on the map.

Participatory Design — Throughout the research Sidney met with industry healthcare professionals and designers alike to learn from their lived experiences and make informed design decisions.

2020 Work In Progress Exhibition — Sidney utilised the design of engaging and exploratory exhibits to collect insights from patrons and develop a better understanding of how the public perceived emerging research topics.

2020 Work In Progress Exhibition, Close-up

2020 Work In Progress Exhibition, Close-up

User Experience Research — Throughout the development of the Potentia Research Kit paper prototyping and UX research were executed with participants to finesse the usability of the final product.

Inclusive research is essential to improve quality of life for people with dementia, improve quality of life for caregivers, reduce economic impact, and ease burden on the NHS workforce. My research begins to explore this momentous problem space by investigating the following research questions: RQ1: How might we make qualitative research participation more inclusive for people with dementia? RQ2: Could artificially intelligent tools improve communication between participants with dementia and researchers? RQ3: In what other contexts could these tools be utilised?

To both develop and approach these research questions, I borrowed from both traditional research methods, as well as practice led approaches. As I peeled away the messy layers of this problem space, I found one particularly distinctive commonality through each avenue I explored: fear of unknown futures. Whether it was caregivers afraid for their financial security or the wellbeing of their loved ones, people with dementia not knowing what they will forget next, researchers being unsure how to navigate legal and ethical challenges, or review boards unsure of how to ensure participant safety, everything dementia touches is riddled with uncertainty. As I moved through my research, it became increasingly apparent that any given intervention must inject certainty back into dementia research participation.

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