Tovertafel creates happy moments

An interactive game that connects people and playfully stimulates physical activity

The Active Cues’ Tovertafel game is for people with moderate to severe dementia. It motivates them to playfully participate in order to stimulate physical and social activity. Numerous games, consisting of interactive light animations that react to hand and arm movements, are projected on a table. Tovertafel was developed during the PhD research of Hester Le Riche in close collaboration with the people with dementia to perfectly match their needs.


The Tovertafel box is suspended from the ceiling and projects light animations onto a table

Tovertafel equipment consists of a box which is suspended from the ceiling, containing a high quality projector, infrared sensors, a speaker, a processor, a memory card and a Wi-Fi antenna. It detects any hand and arm movement, controls the games and projects the interactive light animations onto the table. Tovertafel is suited to play on almost every table surface, colour or material. The structure was developed in this way to avoid making the participants feel uneasy by having a strange box cluttering the room or being on the same level as them. Tovertafel can be connected to the internet, whereby software updates and new games will be updated. The system is set up in such a way that we can add more games at any time in the future. Development is an ongoing process as we constantly want to improve the quality of the existing games and enrich the overall experience with new games.

Multiple studies substantiate the development of Tovertafel

During the design of Tovertafel ir. Hester Le Riche undertook a ‘research through design’ study. To demonstrate the new product, she started with three scientific studies. After that she used a design method called ‘co-design’ to develop Tovertafel in close collaboration with people who live with dementia, their family and carers. The last part of the study was an evaluation of the effects of Tovertafel on the emotions, physical activity and social interaction of the patients. The results were promising: we saw an increase of positive emotions and social activity and a significant increase in their physical activity. We have started more large-scale studies and we are very open to cooperation with knowledge institutions who want to do further research in this area.


As it is important to us that Tovertafel is used frequently and in the right way, we train and support the care staff and family

We are very aware of how challenging it is to try something new due to care staff’s busy schedules. Therefore, Active Cues offers a training service to support care management and staff. On installation of Tovertafel, we organise a meeting for the staff, family and carers in which we show the importance and possibilities of the Tovertafel, and how playful and stimulating activities improve the life of the people with dementia.

During the first three months a student from Beppe, an organisation which hosts a platform for the youth to interact with the elderly, will spend two hours per week in the care institution to inspire the staff to use Tovertafel in their care routine, as well as friends and family who visit.

With our crowdfunding platform we support care institutions who want to purchase Tovertafel

Interested but have insufficient funds? Active Cues have started a crowdfunding platform on which every care institution that does not have enough money to purchase Tovertafel can start their own crowdfunding project. Crowdfunding means that a large group of people create sufficient funds by each donating a relatively small amount of money in order to purchase a unit. Active Cues helps the care institutions by means of social media activities and regional marketing. Together, we will ensure that Tovertafel becomes a reality!


Practical experiences

Laurent de Vries, chairman of the executive board of Viattence:

These games activate and stimulate the elderly, both in body and mind. This is so important for their development and even more so, the benefit of their wellbeing

Carian Klaverkamp, residential care specialist at Careyn:

It is fantastic to see the residents engage enthusiastically with the autumn leaves or, for example, recognising the flowers! They spontaneously start talking about their past experiences. It is just beautiful that Active Cues develops meaningful activities for people with dementia in today’s digital era.

Already more than 800 Tovertafels in The Netherlands and Belgium