Pediatric physiotherapy made more accessible, simple & fun.
Thesis Advisor - Dr Gionata Gatto
Year - 2022
Duration - 6 months
Research Partner - Al Noor Training Centre
In recent years, increasing attention has been drawn on the importance of designing inclusive services and systems, capable of including multiple groups of people. Yet, the majority of products on the market are designed with specific groups of target users in mind. Products and services that aim at serving distinctive needs and non-normative capabilities often fall behind the focus of designers and producers, thus rendering some categories of people underserved. One such group of individuals are children with structural abnormalities, neurodevelopmental conditions, birth anomalies, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder and other such conditions. These children attend physiotherapy to help build and sustain their physical strength and mobility. These children’s physiotherapy experience is unoptimized and limited as little to no attention has been paid to their needs, condition and age requirements while designing the physiotherapy system around them.
This project explores how interactive devices and perceptible feedback could assist children in understanding the progress they are making (related to their gross motor skills) while simultaneously motivating them. Interactive device ecosystems can create a more pleasurable and engaging physiotherapy experience for these children. Hence, accelerating the development of muscle strength, mobility and overall gross motor skills, and allowing these children to better access our urban environments. To achieve these goals, this project explores the historical relationship between disability and technology, and how that has been harnessed as a tool to assist and empower individuals. The research process of this project focuses on deconstructing the pediatric physiotherapy system and existing solutions through field research to better understand the key pain points and what re-design opportunities are available. The purpose of the project is to understand and reevaluate how physiotherapy experiences and systems for children can be made more engaging and insightful, ultimately leading to empowering those who practice it.
Using a light & a wearable, THEO makes physiotherapy more accessible, simple & fun for children. This project aims to enable and empower children with birth anomalies, neurodevelopment conditions, structural abnormalities, and other conditions that require physiotherapy. The product ecosystem (wearable and light) enables children to independently develop their gross motor skills and mobility while engaging them in a pleasurable and empowering experience.
The light component changes colour as the wearable detects the movement (change of angle) and progress of the child through each repetition of their exercise. This allows the children to better understand their performance of each exercise and to conduct physiotherapy sessions with more autonomy and motivation. THEO is also connected to a web portal where physiotherapist and parents of the child can access more detailed data and reports in relation to their child's progress. THEO creates a less intimidating space for the children in the complex field of child healthcare.