An interactive tabletop developed at RMIT as a rehabilitation tool for patients with brain injuries has been recognised with a Victorian Premier’s Design Award.
The Elements project, which integrates digital media software, tangible user interfaces (TUIs), augmented feedback and artistic expression to enhance patient’s motor and cognitive skills, was awarded the Digital Design Award.
Dr Jonathan Duckworth is the artist and designer of Elements, and Director of the Creative Interventions Art and Rehabilitative Technologies Lab (CiART) in the Centre for Game Design Research at RMIT.
Duckworth said the team was absolutely thrilled to win such a prestigious award.
“It provides us with a real impetus for the future development of Elements,” he said.
“We are currently working on a translation plan to market that will hopefully see the system used widely in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, and other practices.”
The project team includes Ross Eldridge and Nina Bennett (RMIT), Professor Peter H Wilson and Dr Nick Mumford (Australian Catholic University), Professor David Shum and Professor Patrick Thomas (Griffith University), and Dr Gavin Williams (Epworth Hospital). Funding support has come from the Australian Research Council and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Associate Professor Stefan Greuter, Foundation Director of the Centre for Game Design Research, said the Elements system was an exceptional multi-disciplinary research project that used game technologies to enhance the rehabilitation outcomes of individuals with a brain injury.
Clinical evaluations indicate that patients who used the system relearned movement skills, increased their level of engagement, motivation and self-esteem, and importantly, improved their day-to-day functioning.
The newly created Accelerator + Incubator (A+I) at RMIT, directed by Professor Swee Mak, has selected the Elements technologies for targeted support for translation to market, building on the years of basic research support from the Dean of the School of Media and Communication, Professor Martyn Hook.
As part of the strategy for market validation, the CiART team applied and were invited to show their research at Sónar+D Market lab area, the international conference on digital transformation integrated into Sónar in Barcelona in June.
The team presented the Resonance table, a multi-user version of Elements that supports group-based rehabilitation.
The project was chosen by Spanish newspaper El Mundo as one of the top 10 innovative ideas from the conference, which was attended by more than 40,000 people.
The stall at Sonar D+ was supported by RMIT Europe and the Centre for Game Design Research.
The Premier’s Design Awards, which recognise and reward Victorian designers and businesses using exemplar design effectively and sustainably, were presented at Government House earlier this month in front of the state's leading designers and architects.
The design sector is a significant contributor to the Victorian economy, with more than 195,000 people employed in design-related roles. The sector generates revenue of $7.3 billion annually for the state, including an estimated $204 million in design-related exports.
Story: Wendy Little