Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Designing for Poor Motor Control

I am working on the design of a hand held device for patients that suffer the hypertonicity or spasticity caused by cerebral palsy, multiple scelrosis, brain injury or stroke. I have thinking about the disability consequences that result from these conditions. I have been researching assistive devices these patients might be using to accomplish common daily tasks like bathing, eating, walking and so forth.

I found this great site that listed the variety of assitive devices that people with motor control use to get through their day. From this list, I have been able to explore what tools people use and would be familiar with, I am hoping to understand why the designs of these devices help a person cope and apply those same principles into the device I am designing.

I am not an accessibility expert, but I am hoping to design something that will fit seamlessly into the lives of these patients and their caregivers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Online Gaming and Medical Device Design

Some of my close friends know that I am totally addicted to COD5. It is important to recognize that I am using this immersively interactive experience to help me think of new ways to approach design problems. I may even be patenting one of my more promising ideas for a medical device soon. Since I plan on patenting this idea, I can't talk about it yet. I am listed a a co-inventor for two patent applications, one for deep brain stimulation and another for an indoor air comfort system, so maybe all this game playing is paying off.

I would like to share a Game Research site I stumbled on with a link to a good article: http://game-research.com/index.php/articles/making-sense-of-software-computer-games-as-interactive-textuality/

Spend time having fun and ideas will come!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Touchscreen UI for Handheld Devices

I am designing a User Interface for a handheld device with a touchscreen.

One of the first engineering things I needed to learn about was resistive vs capacitive touchscreens.
Synaptics had a white paper at Control Design that helped me understand the technology behind these options.

I am taking a look at several different products available in the market today including: iTouch, Garmin, Blackberry Storm, HP iPaq and other handheld devices I have designed recently that haven't been released to the market yet.  I am constantly learning new things about what works and what doesn't work well with regular folks during usability studies.

There hasn't been much research on touchscreens yet, but the article on Evaluation of One Handed Thumb Tapping on Mobile Touchscreen Devices was helpful and it has helped me while planning for a formative study of the prototype early next year.   In the referenced study, they found that preferred hand motions were quicker, that it didn't matter if you were walking or just standing while using the device, and that on-screen buttons on the edge had higher accuracy, but on-screen buttons in the center were deemed more comfortable to press.  You will need to be an ACM member to download the full paper.