Intel, New Devices Group
Disclaimer: Some work for this
project remains under NDA.
How might immersive technologies positively impact people with differing abilities or chronic pain and disrupt the assistive devices industry?
Our engineering partners came up with a promising use case for the treatment of phantom limb pain using an augmented and/or mixed reality version of mirror box therapy which patients could take home and use more frequently. My team’s role was to concept, develop UX, coordinate production efforts, and contribute to demos/pitches to partners and stakeholders.
With the initial use case established, the role of UX was to push that use case further, support prototyping and testing, and develop vision materials and a narrative to communicate the idea to internal stakeholders and external partners. The first questions I explored were around why mirror box therapy worked to begin with.
I brought a neuropsychologist onto the team to help us understand the underlying neurological principles involved. With that knowledge as inspiration, I established tertiary uses cases that included interactive activities where a "holographic" hand could work independently of the real world hand, increasing neural connections by way of involving additional parts of the brain. In theory, this could more effectively address unresolved connections and better treat the associated pain.
We successfully created a prototype to illustrate the idea, as well as vision videos and strategy to show longer-term viability. The business model, and medical regulatory environment, for such use cases presented additional challenges for moving onto the next steps, but it was an exciting illustration of embodiment and the impact immersive technology can have on the brain, as well as a reminder that well-considered approaches to accessibility problems often result in improvements not just for people with different abilities, but can also open the door to innovations that impact everyone.
Optical See-Through Displays