Towards Independence: Using motion sensing technologies to amplify the abilities of adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
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Somability is the name for a series of motion sensing applications designed people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) in their day service settings. Somability generates abstract artworks (bold, high contract silhouettes, lines and circles) in response to movement, visually tracing and amplifying even the most tentative action. Visceral, dynamic amplification means that a wheelchair user with limited limb mobility is able to create the same range of visual effects as a more mobile peer. A notable outcome of this process has been increased independence for service users, whereby the person with the most profound disability has been able to trigger the interaction, with carers and peers responding, rather than leading. As with other compelling artistic performances, the audience - other service users and carers - are also participants, commentating on, and mirroring, the actions of the performers.
Keay-Bright, W. (2014) Towards Independence: Using motion sensing technologies to amplify the abilities of adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Recent Advances in Assistive Technology & Engineering, RAatE 2014
Recent Advances in Assistive Technology and Engineering was the only conference in the UK in 2014 based around the latest innovations in assistive technology. Rather than focus on costly adaptations that draw attention to disability, my work drew on research from dance and demonstrated how graphical projections of movement data could be fed back to users. The significance of this approach is in the empowerment of people with profound disabilities. Scientific data emerging from my design is used to promote recreation and leisure (Article, 30, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), promoting a dynamic range of meaningful communicative behaviours and personal independence.
Health Design & Technology Institute, Coventry University