Somability prototypes in action

at gadlys

Following a very successful paper prototyping workshop at the Gadlys Learning Curve last November, the Cariad Interactive team spent two days last week trying early technology prototypes. Learning Curve support staff, led by Kath Ritchie, together with Angharad Lee from the Sherman Inclusive Theatre group and Zoe Martin from Artis Community, contributed ideas based on four broad themes, inspired by Laban’s movement analysis. Weight, space, time and togetherness were explored in the context of how service users may be able to extend their range of movement and expressive communication within the community centre setting.

So last week we put the ideas to the test, setting up the prototypes on the new Novatec laptops, and using Kinect as a motion capture input device. During the first session, at Gadlys, all the service users had a chance to try out Somability in the main room. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun and the range of movements were dynamic and exaggerated. As the goal of the project is to “make movement irresistible” we were all delighted at the level of engagement and peer interaction.

After some overnight modifications to the interface, the action continued for a second day, using a nearby hall which provided significantly more space. This was especially helpful when we had three wheelchair users, other peers and carers all interacting together. Leah McLaughlin, CARIAD, did an amazing job at capturing the sessions, which were reviewed by a small focus group, together with the carers, Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Joel and Marek are now moving forward with our prototypes, adding new modes for graphically interpreting body shape, mirroring and cause and effect; Pete is busy making proposals for the interface aesthetics.

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