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improves understanding of mobility problems
The software tool presents data visually and
this allows those without specialist
training – both professionals and older
people – to better understand and contribute
to discussions about the mechanics of
movement, known as biomechanics, when
carrying out everyday activities.
The software takes motion capture data and
muscle strength measurements from older
people undertaking everyday activities.
The software then generates a 3D animated
human stick figure on which the
biomechanical demands of the activities are
represented visually at the joints.
These demands, or stresses, are shown as a
percentage of maximum capability through a
colour gradient: green is 0 per cent, amber
is 50 per cent and red is 100 per cent or
The research shows the new software tool has
the potential to improve diagnostic,
therapeutic, communication and education
procedures by increasing the use and
integration of biomechanical expertise in
both design and healthcare practices.
The visualisation software could be used to
improve the designer's understanding of the
different needs when developing products for
older people, including enhancing the
ergonomic and as well as the functional
attributes of products, and improving the
design of landscapes and buildings.
In a healthcare setting the tool could be
used as part of a range of assessment
techniques. It could improve the
understanding by different healthcare
profession of older people's mobility
challenges and improve communication across
these professions to provide a more
joined-up approach to clinical assessment,
diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Commenting on the research, Professor
Alastair Macdonald of the Glasgow School of
Art, said: "The visualisation software is a
simple yet highly effective tool to help
older people and professionals explain,
discuss and address mobility problems.
Better understanding of older people's
mobility can help healthcare professionals
improve diagnosis or treatment of problems,
and design professionals to adapt the way
they design for older people."