Interactive Infrastructures: Physical Rehabilitation Modules for Pervasive Healthcare Technology

  • A. J. BongersEmail author
  • Stuart Smith
  • Victor Donker
  • Michelle Pickrell
  • Rebecca Hall
  • Stefan Lie
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Traditional physical rehabilitation techniques are based mainly on mechanical structures and passive materials. This has certain limitations, which can be overcome by applying interactive technologies. As a team of designers, technologists and medical researchers and practitioners, we have developed an interactive sensor floor tile system and several other modules for rehabilitation exercises, as part of an interactive infrastructure to support rehabilitation. Since 2009, the team has advanced its understanding of rehabilitation practices and problems, and designed prototypes, interventions and demonstrators in order to gain feedback on our approach. We have identified as the three critical issues affecting rehabilitation motivation, customisation, andindependence. The system that we have developed is founded on the current mechanical practices, of improvisational nature, and creative use of existing materials and techniques, expanding from this way of working by applying new interactive digital technologies and 3D instant manufacturing techniques. We have developed a number of modules for the system, and a physical programming technique which aims to blend in with current practices. Two sets of sensor floor modules are in use in hospitals and we are reporting in this chapter the first positive effects the system has on the rehabilitation of stroke patients.


Video Game Rehabilitation Exercise Step Task Rehabilitation Practice Rehabilitation Ward 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This phase of the work was partially funded by two grants of the UTS design faculty’s Centre for Contemporary Design Practices. We are very grateful for the support of A/Prof Cathie Sherrington of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, who funded the redesign of the floor tiles (using 3D printing techniques) and has adopted the two sets in clinical trials. We thank the staff of the hospitals involved for all their invaluable input and feedback on our developments. Particularly physiotherapist Karl Schurr has played a crucial role in all this work, with his deep understanding of all the issues related to patients exercises and motivation, and has driven many of the design processes presented in this chapter. The project has ethics approval nationally, site specific, and from the university.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Bongers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stuart Smith
    • 2
  • Victor Donker
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michelle Pickrell
    • 1
  • Rebecca Hall
    • 1
  • Stefan Lie
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, Interactivation StudioUniversity of Technology SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Healthy Eating, Active Living Technology (HEALTHY) Research CentreUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Industrial DesignEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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