Post project reflections
A project conceptualised in the summer of 2000 at a meeting in Bristol
University by members of the core research team from the earlier European funded
FET project CARESS www.bris.ac.uk/caress (namely Nishan Canagarajah, Ron Laborde and Stefan Hasselblad) in
collaboration with Tony Brooks founder/leader of his own self funded research
titled Soundscapes which is also a non profit organisation based in Denmark www.soundscapes.dk
. This meeting in 2000 led to the European Network for Intelligent
Information Interfaces www.i3net.org funding
a 'future probe' in 2001 www.bris.ac.uk/Twi-aysi
and subsequently the CAREHERE project.
Start Date: October 2001 - end October 2002
NB. The text below is a reflective summary of the project as well as being an invitation for further collaborations with the research team.
Interested parties who wish to have a presentation or workshop at for example their institute, university or event are encouraged to contact us.
No satisfactory marketed product resulted from the CAREHERE project however
the research continues with custom system solutions being created on request by
the research partners as appropriate. Direct contact for the custom system
solutions, presentations/workshops or interested parties for potential future
research collaboration opportunities so as to utilise the expertise from the
herein contained research is through Tony Brooks, Associate Professor Aalborg
University Esbjerg who is coordinator of the follow on European proposal "Brain
Empathy" project Tonybrooks@cs.aue.aue.dk
or email@example.com .
A central plank of the CAREHERE project was to be the creation of a networked community of specialist persons, institutions and authorities through whom we envisioned could both feed-in new ideas and research towards optimised solutions for our goals.
The objective of the project was to empower children and adults with special needs, the elderly in long term care and people undergoing rehabilitation in hospital or at home, following for example stroke or brain injury. By giving them access to affordable, appealing and readily usable state of the art technology for the improvement of their physical and cognitive skills using feedback from acoustic and visual stimuli. We concluded from the research that camera capture technology and the software from our Italian partner was the optimum solution. This software is available at http://infomus.dist.unige.it/eywindex.html and is a free download.
We were, (and still are), concerned with the research of (re-)development of physical and cognitive skills by interaction with a responsive sound and visual environment: the improvement of motor control through direct and immediate feedback through the aural and visual senses. The suggested closure of this afferent efferent neurological "loop" (i.e. motor, sensor, motor) from such interactions is similar to that described in published paper at (1)The 4th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies (ICDVRAT2002). 18-20 September 2002, Veszprém, Hungary - accessible at www.cyber.rdg.ac.uk/icdvrat (pp205) (2) The 5th Asia Pacific Conference in Beijing, China on Computer Human Interaction.
Abstract extract ICDVRAT2002:
Interaction with shapes and sounds as a therapy for special needs and
Brooks, Camurri, Canagarajah and Hasselblad.
Causal interactive audio and visual feedback sourced from whatever faculty is available from children with severe disability and utilised within an adaptable user-friendly interactive environment that encourages, motivates, and is "fun" to participate within has proved to be a rich resource within which to research towards possibilities for the children to reach their fullest potential.
Aesthetic resonance refers to a situation when the response to an intent is so immediate and aesthetically pleasing as to make one forget the physical movement (and often effort) involved in the conveying of the intention.
Sonic feedback techniques have been shown in a previous project to have great value in encouraging free and uninhibited movement where all other techniques have failed. It was observed how children who normally had very limited control over their own bodies and little control over their environment gradually became more functional and self-aware as they were able to control their environment, even through minimal head movements. Aesthetic Resonance has been coined as a term to describe the special moments when such a child achieves total control and expression after a period of intense exploration, discovery and creation. Similar success was achieved in a follow on project concentrating on visual feedback with the children. A resulting video(©Tony Brooks 2001) from february 2001 showing this is at http://media.nis.sdu.dk/video/twi-aysi.html where a multi-head prototype infrared sensor (see www.soundscapes.dk) designed by Tony Brooks is set up to capture head movement from a five year old severely disabled child. This movement information is mapped via the MIDI protocol to control the navigation of a 3D projected image of a space ship in a Virtual Reality Panorama room. A selection of articles are available including these (Swedish) Virtuellt mĺleri i särskolan and My styr ljus och ljud i Sinnenas verkstad with an executive summary on this work at http://www.bris.ac.uk/Twi-aysi/executive_summary.html
Enjoyment and self-motivation are key aspects of our approach which is readily transferable to other groups such as the elderly in long term care which the research team have experience working with as well as those within the special needs field as a whole. Each of these groups has a common need for alternative means of functional communication. Our goal is to provide the same potential for expression and development to all persons regardless of their current capacities. Experience suggests that individual tailoring and free movement are the deciding factors for reaching aesthetic resonance. The Aesthetic Resonance Environment will tailor itself to the needs and strengths of the individual. Invisible, non-contact interfaces allow each individual to utilise any motion for expressive exploration, creativity and development through controlled generation of sound, light and graphics.
As outlined above the CAREHERE project concluded with a majority opinion from the partners that camera capture and the Eyesweb software (http://infomus.dist.unige.it/eywindex.html ) with full supporting therapeutic material regarding its introduction and use (process for training therapists; results and advise from previous user trials; user evaluations and methodology; instructions as to installation and use of equipment; libraries of audio-visual content;) is a preferred way forward alongside the envisioned thriving, active and involved user community which is constantly expanding through the continued presentations and workshops. However the research is open structured such that utilisation of other non-wearable tangible sensor technologies such as ultrasound and infrared are often experimented as occasion permits.
Our two research partners will, in the next iteration of the expansive work, develop an appealing and readily usable (by user and therapist) user interface and supporting run-time engine, alongside libraries of algorithms and audio-visual content emerging from their research into sonic navigation, visual empathy, sonic tactility and the modelling and capture of expressivities. Our user forum, set up from the beginning of the project will provide an immediate avenue for dissemination and exploitation of project results and training. Central to our approach is the feed-in from our user forum and the continual feedback from our user partners’ practical experience in the use of the demonstrator systems developed by our research partners.
As a result of the project we have established new qualitative and quantitative user evaluation methodologies most appropriate to our wide user base. This will be exploited more fully in the next project with the creation of much needed new testing methods for process analysis and user categorization. We will establish the user forum web site and expand and consolidate our International user forum. The expansion of the user forum in the future will be aided by our continued presentations and workshops promoting CARE HERE and its further developments.Details of the launch of CAREHERE at Orbit/Comdex Exhibition (Basel, Switzerland in October 2001) is accessible at link Comdex Europe 2001 where the project was featured in the European Network for Intelligent Information Interfaces research village http://www.i3net.org/ac2001/orbitcomdex/docs/guide.html and represented by partners Tony Brooks and Stefan Hasselblad.
During the course of the project the two key "USER FORUM" partners (Hasselblad & Brooks) further presented Internationally at key conferences and events. These presentations alongside the workshops involving "hands-on" sessions and the subsequent high level of attendance interest proving a key motivator for the follow on project Brain Empathy BRAIN-Empathy Short Document.doc which is at the EU CORDIS 6th framework site http://eoi.cordis.lu/dsp_details.cfm?ID=36104 under the Expressive Movement for Pleasure and Therapy - Programme for the Brain Injured and Impaired.
Example - New
Zealand TV3, Inside/Out, 16 June 2002 (right click and "save target as
...." onto your computer for optimal playback).
From an event in New Zealand (april 2002) where Tony Brooks is illustrating how it is possible to create aesthetic resonant environments on a large scale and for a large cross-section of the public, including disabled and elderly people (27 minutes).