ActivABLES: Tangible Interaction to Support Effective and Usable Stroke Rehabilitation at Home
Stroke is a significant societal and public health challenge, and the third highest factor of morbidity and mortality worldwide (after cardiovascular disease and cancer). Effective rehabilitation of stroke survivors is required to help them accomplish daily activities (cooking, washing, etc.) and lead an independent life. Much of this rehabilitation occurs at home, through performing Activities of Daily Living (ADL) exercises. However, these are repetitive and difficult to perform correctly. They are also difficult to integrate into the existing lives of stroke survivors. This leads to stroke survivors losing confidence in the exercises and giving up on rehabilitation at home, losing the benefits it could provide. ActivABLES investigates how to better support the continuation of rehabilitation and achieve its benefits. ActivABLES are physical devices that respond to correctly carried out rehabilitation exercises via multimodal feedback (non-speech audio, vibration, temperature, etc.). ActivABLES can be integrated into day-to-day activities by being programmed to act as input devices for common, everyday devices (e.g. a correctly carried out exercise could be configured to change the channel on a Television). In addition we will develop a methods (suitable activities and tasks) and materials toolkit that support the use of the ActivABLE technology. We focus on what is needed for the ActivABLES to be incorporated into the stroke survivor’s lives and how the extended support network can be incorporated into this. Taken together, this allows rehabilitation exercises to be integrated into a user’s day through both practical and fun activities. By incorporating end users at all stages of their design, we will be able to develop rehabilitation technology that not only supports effective rehabilitation, but also fits into the lives of stroke survivors so that it is used to realise this rehabilitation.