INTERACTIVE TRAINING DEVICE FOR BALANCE DISORDERS TO BE USED IN REHABILITATION CENTERS
SITAND is a balance training device designed for rehabilitation centers. The device was designed for specific group of people who has balance disorders due to vestibular damages or particular limb problems. Three phased usage scenario has been structured around the general exercise schedules and capabilities of these specific patients. The first phase starts with sitting exercises; than it turns into standing exercises with the help of supporting part; finally, by separating sensory part, it gains the final shape for standing exercises without support.
The device works within the principle of transforming body movements into the related video game via embedded pressure sensors. Main advantage of SITAND is to encourage patients to do their repetitive exercises through a game which helps them to go on rehabilitation willingly. Throughout longtime treatments, interacting with games makes patients to track their recovery processes on the screen as achievement level almost the same as it was in real life.
Conceptual Design, User Research, User Testing, User Interface Design, Game Interface Design, 3D Modelling, Rendering, 3D Printing
Rhinoceros, Cinema4d,Vray, Photoshop, Illustrator
YEAR & PLACE
2011-2012 Spring, Middle East Technical University Department of Industrial Design
The potential user group that I have focused on is the patients suffering from not establishing their postural perception and so lose their balances. As far as the observations that I conducted in rehabilitation center and the discussions with the therapists such failure can occur due to brain damages (vestibular damages) or physical reasons like loss of mechanoreceptor on leg etc.
Exercises aim to rise the amount of the receptors as much as possible and than make input reached by the brain. So partial exercises are essential as well.
As the result of the observations and discussions with the doctors, patients also intend to do the exercises by themselves. This gives them confidence and also due to lack of physiotherapists it seems very important to do.
- Both the product and the interface (game) must meet needs of many patients at any age.
- The system must encourage the user to improve her/his skills and offer her/him a challenge factor.
- The game must be planned up to exercise needs of the patients (Frequency of the act, levels, identical scenarios on the screen etc.)
- In order to control pressure sensors there must be a flat surface on them which can properly make dispersion of the pressure possible.
- The whole system must be safe in case of falling while controlling the system or throughout other possible scenarios.
- The device must be carried easily between rooms at the rehabilitation center.
- The device should be lightweight.
- The system should be used more than one positions depending on the exercise need and/or level of the patient.
- The product should give data about the encouragement level of the patient.
- The game should jump the level according to increasing level of healing.
- Both the device and the interface should be encouraging and allowing patients to do the exercises willingly by themselves.
- It should be used in diverse environments, surfaces etc.
- The interactive part could be applicable together with the recently used devices (mobile monitors, , tv etc.)
- The device could be a tool set which can be built up to changing levels of the patients.
- The system could be turned into a health test system that allow measuring performance.
When the time I searched for the available products to improve balance disorders, I saw that there are plenty of products for diverse purposes. When we consider the differentiating needs of even the same patient depending on their progress, for the each step different device could be needed which makes the rehabilitation process very expensive and overwhelming for the patients.
Another problem about available devices on the market was, they are lack of encouraging interactivity and feedback. On the other hand, some of them were very heavy due to use of very old technologies.
Scenario and the games are shaped on the basic exercises related to balance disorders. The exercises start with sitting. The first game is controlled by right,left movement. By changing the direction the ball is caught and bounced. The second game requires to go front and back to make the butterfly fly and land on the flowers.
The second phase includes standing exercises which are suitable for patients who have a bit more progress. The two of them are Knee bending and rising up onto toes that are strengthening exercises while balancing. By rising up, the balls are exploded and by knee bending the patient can get away from the balls falling down.
STANDING ON BOARD
Ongoing game is about the fully proprioceptive act nearly as the same in the real life. By changing four directions the patient is expected to travel in the labyrinth. In this phase the patient no more needs to hold standing part and just uses the sensory board. As another option, at this stage training can be done by following trainer's regular exercises in a more advanced way.
Before the beginning of the exercise, device position should have been chosen for the calibration of the upper part. Then, depending on the exercise type game decision should be made by a doctor. If the patient wants to go on with trainer, trainer based exercises could be chosen on another menu.
The system can also collects sort of datas about improvement of the patient and this data could be viewed on analysis menu. At this menu "total balance control" and "postural stability results" of the patient can be tracked on daily, monthly or yearly timelines.
Game selection and level management is done through a remote controller. Remote controller is designed to be able to use by patients from different ages. At the beginning, the game controlling was thought to be done through embedded buttons on the moving body. But then, the transformable form prevented me to make such a decision. The remote controller was the most suitable solution for flexible usage. On controller, there are four buttons for passing between menus as right-left and up-down. There is also a main menu button to turn back the main menu whenever it is needed. Lastly, there is on-off button which is also available on console. The Console has USB device and tv monitor entrance.