Day Clock for Digital Photo Frames
This particular Day Clock was created for my Mother, who is 86, and was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2011. It is in her bedroom, and sits next to her TV, which she watches most of the time. It is clearly visible to her for most of the day, and throughout the night. I have made the files needed to create a similar clock, freely available to all who would find it useful for a parent, relative, friend or patient, who has dementia. There is a similar, commercially available Day Clock for people with Dementia, created by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME), but many Digital Photo Frames can be used in a similar way to create this Day Clock.
For those wishing to find out more about BIME the link is here www.bime.org.uk, or you can contact their Deputy Director by email here email@example.com. If you wish to purchase the BIME DayClock then please visit www.day-clock.com.
The Digital Photo Frame illustrated above, is a Motorola MLC800, this is the model I have used to create the Day Clock. As you can see, it has its own built in clock and calendar - these can be switched off, if they are not required (I find the clock and calendar useful, but they are of no significance to my Mother). The clock has only been up and running a week, and I have already noticed that the "It is now" part of the message is irrelevant - so I will produce a new set of slides where these words are omitted.
PLEASE NOTE! There are at least two versions of the MLC800, and not all models seem to be able to display the time and calendar as well as the image. Others have reported that the Motorola MF801 does work.
Before you consider paying for an expensive Digital Photo Frame based Day Clock, try this. Why? Because Day Clocks do not work for all people with dementia. This way, you can try it out, and if it works, then fine. If it doesn't, you'll still have a photo frame, that can be loaded with images from your loved one's past, to use as a visual prompt to encourage conversation about their past memories - the ones they retain the longest.
The principle behind this clock is to enable those with Alzheimer's and other forms of Dementia, to have a better perception of the time of day. Rather than displaying the time, the clock displays a period during the day or night, along with the actual day.
The current slides have a photo background relevant to the period of day, to help with visual perception. There will soon be other types of slides. Slides with a coloured background, again relevant to the period of the day. Slides on a white background for Morning and Afternoon, and a black background for Evening and Night. Or slides simply on a non-changing black or white background.
This particular set of images is optimised for use on an 8” frame with a 4:3 aspect ratio and an 800x600 pixel display. Suitable 7" or 8” frames can be obtained for around £30 to £40. There will soon be slides for 16:9 apsect ratio frames with a 480x234 pixel display.
How it works
Many Digital Photo Frames allow for a slide show duration of one hour, for each slide. In order to use this system, you need to ensure that the Digital Photo Frame used, allows for a one hour slide duration.
The system uses four separate periods for each day – Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night. Morning and Afternoon each have a six hour duration, Morning – 6am to 12 noon, Afternoon – 12 noon to 6pm. Evening has a four hour duration – 6pm to 10pm, and Night has an eight hour duration – 10pm to 6am.
The day displayed does not change until the Morning period, so for example, Sunday Night remains until 6am the following day when it then becomes Monday Morning, in line with the perception that we go to sleep on one day (Sunday), and wake up the following day (Monday). This is to avoid any confusion that may be caused by changing say Monday Night into Tuesday Night at midnight. If someone was to wake up at 2am after going to sleep on Monday Night, and the display tells them it is now Tuesday Night, they may think they have been asleep for over 24 hours.
File naming system
The image file naming system is based simply on a day number and an hour number. Monday is 1, Tuesday is 2 etc. The hours are simply based on the 24 hour clock. The slide for Monday (day 1) at midnight is named 1_00 (day 1, 00:00 hours), the slide for Wednesday (day 3) at 2pm is named 3_14 (day 3, 14:00 hours). All of the daily periods can be changed, simply by copying and pasting the relevant images and then changing the file name in accordance with the above naming principle.
Changing the duration of day periods
The basic 6 hour principle, is used to separate the two daytime periods – Morning and Afternoon, whilst a 4/8 split is used for the two night time periods, 4 hours for Evening and 8 hours for Night. These periods can be adjusted to suit the person concerned. Evening, for example, can be shortened - so that it exists between just 6pm and 9pm, after which it becomes Night. To do this, all that needs to be done, is to copy a Night image for a particular day, paste it, and rename it to replace the later Evening images. So, for example, where Monday Evening at 9pm is 1_21, the Monday Night copy, would be renamed 1_21 to replace it. The night period would then be 9 hours, instead of eight. Repeat this, for each day of the week.
When to adjust the duration of day periods
If the person concerned is known to you, and their daily patterns are also known, then duration adjustments can be made in accordance with your own personal knowledge of that person. If, however, such a pattern is unknown, it would be advised that adhering to the basic 6 hour daytime and 4/8 hour nighttime principle, would probably the best solution in the short term.
Setting up the Digital Photo Frame
Once the files have been downloaded, extracted (from the zip file), and any duration adjustments have been made, copy the images (not the folder) to any of the types of media accepted by your Digital Photo Frame, and insert the media into the Photo Frame. Set up the slide show, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, for each slide to change after one hour, and in sequence (don't use random, otherwise the day clock will display the wrong images, at the wrong time).
Again, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, advance to the relevant slide for the day and hour of the day of the set up. So, for example, if you have set it up on Thursday at or after 3pm, and before 4pm, advance the slide show to image 4_15 (Thursday (Day 4) at 15:00 hrs). As long as the slide show is set to be on permanently, the clock will now change according to the day period and the day.
If your Digital Photo Frame has a “Night Mode”, ensure that this is switched to “Off”, otherwise the sequence of slides may be interrupted during the night, and will no longer display the correct slide for the time of day.
If your Photo Frame does not change the image on the hour (many do), it is advisable to set up your Photo Frame as close to the change of the hour as possible.
Adjusting for Daylight Saving Time
When the time comes to change in accordance with daylight saving time adjustments, either advance (Spring) or go back (Autumn) one slide, so that the day clock reflects the time adjustment.
Key requirements for suitable Digital Photo Frames
- 7" or 8” diagonal display size
- 800x600 pixel display
- 4:3 aspect ratio
- 1 hour slide duration
- Auto dim for night time use
- Minimum imternal memory of at least 16Mb, or external digital media such as SD cards, USB flash etc. (External digital media normally needs to be purchased separately)
Use of this system
No guarantees are made that this system will work successfully on any Digital Photo Frame used. However, if you do use it and find it useful, or indeed have any suggestions for improvement, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The slides are currently only in English, it is my intention, over the next few months, to create slides for other languages, initially these will be French, German, Italian and Spanish. Other languages will be added later.
Download images here:
File type: zip (containing 168 JPEG images), file size: 13Mb. www.zkidoo.co.uk is my own website address. The file has been tested and found to be free of any viruses, trojans etc. If, however, you have any concerns, then please ensure that the file is scanned before opening.
I have also created a set of files which do not include the words "It is now", these are available to download below.
Please feel free to comment, and if you do use the system on any Digital Photo Frame other than the model mentioned here, I would be grateful to hear from you to let me know how it worked, and any changes that may need to be made, especially regarding the frame settings. I will then be able to compile a list of the most compatible frames - which I will publish here once this information has been received.
Also - please feel free to share this blog with anyone you know who may find it useful. It's free, and I want as many people to benefit from it as possible.
Downloads and use
The system is free to download and use, for private use, in accordance with the appropriate Creative Commons License (see below).
Digital Photo Frame manufacturers - you are free to use this system under a negotiable license - contact me for further details. Non licensed use, will be pursued in accordance with international copyright laws.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.