Microsoft researchers have developed a handheld device that gives physical therapy patients a "virtual view beneath the skin" to see what an injury looks like in the hope that they will be more eager "to keep doing their therapies," says an article in Technology Review.
The prototype device comes in 2 parts. The first contains a handheld, or pico, projector, an ordinary digital camera, and an infrared camera. The second contains a laser pointer and the control buttons. Instead of using an autocorrection system to map the image of the internal injury precisely onto the patient's exterior, the physical therapist simply points the projector and lines it up by eye. With the prototype, the images displayed are not actually taken from scans of the patients, but come from stock graphical images used to show 1 of 6 different types of injury. Images also can be projected onto a wall.
Even though the images are not of the patient, the technology "appears to be very effective," says Amy Karlson of Microsoft Research's Computational User Experiences Group. Controlled experiments of the device carried out by 2 physical therapists suggest that the device encourages patients to adhere to treatment, the article says.
The device is being presented this week in Vancouver at CHI 2011, the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
This article features APTA Media Corps member Anne Reicherter, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, CHES.