Developing a user interface for the iPAM stroke rehabilitation system

  • Kemna S
  • Culmer P
  • Jackson A
 et al. 
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The increasing population of older people is leading to growing healthcare demands. Stroke is the commonest cause of severe disability in developed countries leaving one third of patients with long term disability. Rehabilitation is the cornerstone of recovery. Lack of rehabilitation manpower resources can limit recovery of limb function. However, technology can assist rehabilitation staff to deliver greater intensity of treatment. Robotic systems such as the iPAM robot can provide semi automated arm exercises for people with complex impairments leading to loss of functional arm movement. Feedback to the patient about their performance, usability of the exercise ldquoworkspacerdquo and motivating exercises are key aspects of the successful deployment of robotic systems within routine clinical use. We describe the development of the patient interface for the iPAM robotic system. Central to this development is user involvement (with rehabilitation professionals and people with stroke). Using user centred design methods which included use of questionnaires and one to one discussions, the user interface was changed from a simple screen showing a stick figure of the arm to a 3D scene with simplified indicators and feedback screens, providing feedback about performance and feedback about the quality of the movement. Patients were positive about the changes to the user interface, confirming that the feedback screens were clear, useful and motivating. The user interface can further be improved by adding more feedback about the quality of the movement.

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