Virtual Reality Centre, RMIT University
Elements is an interactive table top environment that supports movement assessment and rehabilitation for patients recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain injured patients frequently exhibit impaired upper limb function including reduced range of motion, accuracy of reaching, inability to grasp and lift objects, or perform fine motor movements. The Elements system responds to this level of disability by using an intuitive desktop workspace that affords basic gestural control.
Elements provide the patient with a suite of playful software applications for composing with sounds and visual feedback that promote artistic activity. Painting and sound mixing is expressed through the patient’s upper limb control of soft graspable user interfaces. These environments are designed to evoke the patient’s interests in practicing otherwise limited movement skills.
Through playful interaction users can seek out new effects, sounds and visual features to see how they work. By doing so, patients discover new ways of relating to their body and relearn their movement capabilities in a self directed fashion.
This custom made system consists of a horizontal tabletop graphics display, a stereoscopic vision-based tracking system, wireless Tangible User Interfaces and 3D computer game authoring software. Patient’s movements can be tracked and recorded over time for later analysis.
The project is an arts and science research collaboration supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, and Australia Council for the Arts’ Synapse initiative.
Elements has been developed with Associate Prof. Peter H. Wilson, Nick Mumford, Ross Eldridge of RMIT University, Associate Prof. Patrick Thomas, Associate Prof. David Shum of Griffith University, and movement rehabilitation therapist Dr Gavin Williams at the Epworth Hospital, Melbourne.