Science Meets Art

Jonathan Duckworth is a multi-media artist and has teamed up with Peter Wilson, associate professor of psychology at RMIT University located in Australia. Nick Mumford and Ross Eldridge of RMIT University, Pat Thomas and David Shum of Griffith University, and Dr. Gavin Williams of Epworth Hospital in Melbourne were also collaborators who helped design Elements and set up the evaluation study. Together they developed Elements, a virtual reality workspace that helps Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients regain movement. TBI or acquired brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain such as a violent and sudden hit to the head by an object or an object piercing the skull and entering the brain tissue. Unfortunately, TBI is the main cause of death and disability in adolescents and young adults in Australia. 

Elements consists of a large horizontal table top graphics display,  a vision-based tracking system, and a user interface that incorporates sensor technology. I think this is the coolest part. The TBI patients are able to retrain movement and regain hand-eye coordination through the use of this sensor technology. Elements was tested on three male patients between the age of 20 -25. Their gestural skills improved as well as movement accuracy and attentiveness to tasks at hand. 

In the future, the team plans to collaborate with colleagues in London to develop a pediatric system designed to improve therapy for childhood stroke, cerebral palsy and TBI. 

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