ITP Spring 2011 Assistive Technology / Mobile Web
Summary: A web-based smartphone application designed as a tool for improving physical therapy. By accessing the smartphone’s accelerometer, Patience provides a user with real-time visual and audio feedback to assess the quality of their motion. To use Patience, navigate to the PATIENCE MOBILE SITE on an iphone and then, using Google Chrome, load the PATIENCE COMPANION SITE on a separate web browser. The current iteration is a proof of concept not meant for wide distribution.
User Experience: Initially, a therapist will use the app to record baseline values for the appropriate movement of a patient’s arm. A user will then insert the smartphone device into an arm band harness. Since the phone will be on a user’s arm, the application is being designed with big buttons so that choices can easily be made. When a patient begins the exercise, the app records the device’s accelerometer values and immediately plots the “user’s movement” on a separate web browser. Audio signals are also emited if/when a user’s movement extends outside a predefined range.
Goal: A major problem for physical and occupational therapists is that both they and their clients lack any sort of real time feedback on the quality of a client’s performance during exercises. Also, therapists tend to multi-task while treating clients and cannot always closely monitor how well an exercise is being performed. On the reverse end, clients could benefit from more reliable immediate feedback on their activities. Patience was designed as an affordable and accesible solution to this problem. The overhead costs are minimal and the potential for distribution is extremely high. Further iterations would include the ability to store data, track performance over a period of time, and providing visual feedback of a user’s performance progress.