Category Archives: prototyping

Paraplegics are learning to walk again with virtual reality

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From www.qz.com

The chances of recovery for paraplegic patients were once considered nearly nil. But in 2014, 29-year-old Juliano Pinto, who faced complete paralysis below the chest, literally kicked off the opening match at the FIFA World Cup. Researchers had created a brain-machine interface (BMI) that allowed Pinto to control a robotic exoskeleton for the symbolic kickoff at São Paulo’s Corinthians Arena.

Fast forward two years, the Walk Again Project (WAP), the same nonprofit international research consortium that designed Pinto’s exoskeleton, is now using virtual reality to help paraplegic people regain partial sensation and muscle control in their lower limbs. According to a study published Aug. 11 in Scientific Reports, all eight patients who participated in the study have already gained some motor control.

“When we look at the brains of these patients when they got to us, we couldn’t detect any signal when we asked them to imagine walking again. There was no modulation of brain activity,” Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, the lead researcher from Duke University in North Carolina, said in a Scientific Reports call on Aug. 9. “It’s almost like the brain had erased the concept of moving by walking.”

To regain movement, patients were first placed in virtual reality environment, where they learned to use brain activity to control an avatar version of themselves and make it walk around a soccer field. Researchers used Oculus Rift, which is available for purchase off the shelves. They also designed a long sleeve T-shirt which would provide haptic feedback to the patients’ forearms, stimulating the sensation of touching the ground. The arms were treated as phantom limbs, substituting for the legs, fooling the brain into feeling like the patient was walking.

After the brain reacquired the notion of walking, each patient graduated to a custom-designed exoskeleton. The exoskeleton uses a cap with nodes on the wearer’s head, which picks up signals and relays them to a computer in the exoskeleton’s backpack. When the patient thinks about walking, the computer activates the exoskeleton.

By walking in the exoskeleton an hour a day, patients were eventually able to rekindle their remaining nerves to send signals back to brain, and reactivate some voluntary movement and sensitivity. Each patient had a different recovery period but all were able to feel sensation again in the pelvic region and lower limbs, and also learned to control some of their muscles, their bladder and bowel function for the first time in many years.

Read full story on www.qz.com

Essay “Is technology changing storytelling?”

Do changes in technology demand a different approach in the craft of writing? Or do the best stories still come in classic form? Here’s a research insight by rodgezooi as a doubtful enthousiast, investigating the storytelling potentials of new platforms and the masterpieces of the future it will eventually lead to.

For links to the footage used in this essay check: justpaste.it/k3tb

Essay “Is technology changing storytelling?” from rodgezooi on Vimeo.

The State of UX in 2016

The team at uxdesign.cc has seen a lot this year: 48 issues published, 384 links curated and sent to 61,295 designers around the world every week via email. Enough content to help the team at uxdesign.cc start identifying patterns and trends across what’s being written and published in the amazing world of User Experience Design.

http://uxdesign.cc/ux-trends-2015-2016