Amviewlate: Enhancing mobility in people with Parkinson's disease

challenge  |  exploratory research  |  ideation & prototyping  |  final concept


While one of our teammates began setting up the AR development environment, two of us used paper to create a first-round experiential prototype.

at a glance

Paper prototyping
We used paper markers to prototype the ideal motion cues for three actions: A staircase for walking, rotating footprints for turning, and a flying baseball for grabbing objects. To enable turning, we imagined an interaction that would guide users in their chosen direction by displaying a guide of "stomping" footprints. With this method, users could turn by maintaining continuous motion. We used this stage to work out central usability questions as best we could without users with Parkinson's — questions such as "What is a natural speed and direction of cues for turning?"

Through this prototyping exercise, we also realized that voice command would be a huge asset to trigger different illusions so that motion could be as seamless as possible.

paper prototyping

AR prototyping
After the interactions had been mapped out with paper, we began working on the AR and voice recognition capabilities. We chose to color the staircase illusion blue in keeping with the research we had discovered about its special steadying properties. We developed the application for an Android phone and Google Cardboard, using a bit of blue twine we had found to fashion a headstrap. 3D model assets for the foot, ball, and stair illusions were found and altered using the Unity Store and Blender.

In order for the app to lay out a projection along a path it was necessary to provide markers. We placed large arrows on visually busy yet consistent backgrounds for seamless pattern recognition. The incoming ball interaction, which was designed to allow users to target their arm extension so that they may pick up objects, could be summoned with the voice command "grab".

augmented reality

Central features

Voice command
Since gesture control is limited in people with Parkinson's, any interaction that involved a button or GUI would be impractical. With this in mind, we designed all of our illusions to be controlled with simple commands like "turn left" or "grab cup".

Continuous movement pattern for turning
Turning is normally an abrupt, incongruous movement. Our "stomp" method embeds rhythm in this task.

The color blue
Since blue has remarkable steadying effects, we used it for our staircase illusion and stomping interaction.
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