Remote collaboration solution for a physiotherapist.
Thesis DisciplineHuman Interface Technology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Human Interface Technology
This thesis explores the “Smart Idea” of Ghost, a technology to enhance the health and wellbeing of world citizens by providing a better way of delivering therapy to patients. Ghost has the novel affordance wherein a physiotherapist or healthcare professional is able to ‘virtually’ inhabit the body of a remote patient to instruct and guide that patient’s rehabilitation exercises. From the patient’s perspective, the remote therapist is seen as a life-size “ghost” (or virtual image) that appears to originate or emerge from within the patient and guides their actions; hence the name: Ghost. The focus of this thesis in two areas: 1) the selection and evaluation of technologies that could be designed and integrated into prototype configurations that create the Ghost affordances; and 2) potential ways of using the prototype in therapy especially as a serious game. Based on this research, future research would evaluate these configurations in clinical trials. Based on studies in traditional and Virtual Reality rehabilitation techniques, several systems were designed with a focus on Stroke Rehabilitation. Accordingly, this thesis investigates several key components needed in the Ghost framework: tracking, display, and interaction constructs; as well as its potential as a stroke rehabilitation tool for Physiotherapists and Stroke patients with a focus on being a force multiplier in the future. To assess the efficacy of such a hypothetical system the author first developed an experimental prototype that combines several tracking and display solutions alongside several visual effects for adherence; and then second, conducted experiments using this prototype to determine the optimum configuration for tracking/ display/interaction constructs based upon usability and cost. Evaluation of the prototype system shows that the Kinect v2 tracking system paired with the Oculus Rift Head-mounted Display is rated as the best technology configuration by non-clinical users. This is due to the level of immersion and sense of depth provide by the Oculus along with the natural gestures provide by the Kinect V2. The Myo armband was rated as the least desirable tracking approach due in part because it is a new device and requires user specific setup. The Large Display, while rated the lowest amongst the display conditions, was highlighted by participants to still be acceptable. Amongst the visual effects tested for collaboration and interaction constructs, it was found that the Ghost Occlusion effect, applied to either the remote or local collaborator, would be the most suitable. This would reduce the problems associated with overlaying two visual fields on top of each other that occurs when using no visual effects. A Moodle website was implemented in an attempt to collaborate with the target user group due to the groups time restrictions. While no statistical evidence was gained (due to low participant numbers) the author feels this is still a valuable approach to be explored in the future and can succeed with a greater level of advertising and campaigning. Finally, the Butterfly game created for stroke treatment and its various components have shown potential for the use in rehabilitation. The evidence gained from this research project is based on healthy participants; Further investigations will need to be conducted with stroke patients to verify results.