Design and Technology track
Patients in need for home rehabilitation often use not only physical therapy but also mental simulations: they imagine, in a very concrete and detailed manner, each stage in the body’s action prior to performing it in practice. In this project, I add to the mental simulation a digital illustration that includes observing a digital twin using augmented reality (AR). The project examines how watching a digital twin prior to a physical therapy rehabilitative movement can help the patient recover.
Today, rehabilitation apps offer mainly short videos simulating common exercises. In the XR field, it is now possible to perform exercises as part of an imaginary, gaming environment. This project offers a different direction, a fully individually tailored platform, through a digital twin that performs movements geared to the specific rehabilitation of the patient. Unlike the experience in an imaginary environment in virtual reality, the project enables observing the twin in a real-life environment using AR; the objective is to create a sense of self-efficacy in the existing space.
During the project, I conducted experiments using individually-tailored animation films, and subsequently focused on the test case of rehabilitation following an injury to the knee joint. I examined how watching the digital twin could affect the ability to remember the exercises and their emphases, the motivation to perform them, and the actual accuracy of the performance. I found that visual memory improved thanks to the digital twin, contributing to a more precise performance of the exercises.
The project vision includes an additional stage: a complementary system that corrects the trainers while exercising. In this stage, cameras will be installed in the trainers’ homes, connected to a system that compares their movements to those of their digital twin and provides sound feedback in real time to improve accuracy. The project offers a way of harnessing the new digital tools for human benefit, and enhances our self-efficacy.