An Interface for EveryoneUser NeedOver 54 million people in the United States have arthritis, a disease that makes it difficult to use the joints in the hands and wrists to perform everyday tasks (CDC). This disease is currently incurable, and its effects can severely limit patients’ abilities to use computers, which involve significant wrist, thumb, and finger motion. In order to help these patients interface with computers, ergonomic mice have been created, but innovation in this space has remained stagnant over the past few years. Patients with arthritis will live with it for the rest of their lives, and in an increasingly technology-saturated world, it is imperative for these individuals to seamlessly interface with technology. For this project, our target user is affected by arthritis but wants to continue to easily interface with computers. Expert InterviewsIn order to better understand the pathology of arthritis, how it affects patients, and what devices exist on the market to help patients with this disease interface with computers, we interviewed Dr. Shiv Sehra, a rheumatologist at Mt. Auburn Hospital, Catherine Wee, a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehab Center, and one of the designers who created an ergonomic mouse called the Handshoe mouse. We learned that rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis affect different joints in the hands, and that a comprehensive solution must alleviate strain in both the wrists and thumbs. We found that younger patients were more likely to be negatively affected by being unable to use technology. In talking to Ms. Wee, we learned that patients adapt, often inefficiently, to keyboards that are too painful to use, which leads them to type with two fingers. She also highlighted a lack of innovation in the space, noting that few new devices had been produced for this market in the last 25 years. By talking to the mouse designer, we learned that the Handshoe mouse has been rigorously designed to support the wrist and hand, and that the aesthetics of the mouse were deliberately chosen to appeal to the most people. Given this information, we identified the following requirements for our device:
Utilize current technology to provide patients with an experience that feels modern
- Adapt technology to fit patients’ behaviors, and provide flexibility to meet different clinical needs
- Alleviate any strain on the wrist and thumb
Thus, after reviewing the results of our field and online research with professionals in the design and chiropractic industries, we decided to build a comprehensive solution that provided multiple avenues of facilitating computer usage among those affected by arthritis. Our product has 3 components: one, a voice command system powered by Dragon Voice; two, a hand motion detector using LeapMotion technology; and three, KeyTweak which is a software that allows users to swap the position of keys on their keyboard.
Hand motion detector: Our hand motion detector packages LeapMotion technology into a much sleeker and cleaner design that users can mount onto their laptops. Essentially an adhesive black strip, TriDapta’s hand motion detector is meant to provide an alternative to a computer mouse or laptop trackpad. Often these two things can cause undue strain on our hands from constant clicking or improper hand position for prolonged periods of time. Our detector strip allows users to control their screens without having to touch any surface, making it a superior alternative for those that want to avoid exerting pressure using their fingers.
Voice Control: Using Dragon speech recognition software, users can control their computer using voice commands such as “swipe right” or “scroll down.” Additionally, they can dictate their thoughts and documents. Speech recognition is especially handy for users that need to type something quickly, such as responding to a text or transcribing a document.
KeyTweak: KeyTweak is useful for users who have specific problems reaching certain keys on their keyboard. Using KeyTweak, users can modify their keyboard to best suit their needs, such as moving the space bar to the shift key or double-tapping a key to change it to uppercase. We imagine that software engineers and coders especially will find this feature useful.
Our product is unique because it combines existing innovation in the industry into a “one-stop shop” of adaptive technology features that customers can buy to fix their existing computers. The value of our product is that it is made to modify an existing laptop in a super easy fashion, so customers don’t have to go out and buy a new laptop or deal with complicated instructions. Furthermore, with just the addition of an approximately 3 inch by 0.5 inch black strip in the corner of the laptop, TriDapta is fairly inconspicuous, thus avoiding the possible stigma of using adaptive technology that a large clunky mouse might evoke.
TriDapta can be purchased in stores, such as in Apple or Best Buy, or online. It comes as a small box, containing the LeapMotion strip. After purchasing, customers can complete the installation of the TriDapta suite of products by going on the website where they can download our software containing the voice recognition, motion detection, and KeyTweak technologies onto their computers.
Our product uses technology from multiple different companies, and therefore we require a strong value proposition to convince these companies to work with us, and a clear value add for consumers. In order to partner with these companies, we plan on approaching them by highlighting the lack of innovation in assistive devices for people with arthritis, noting the number of people living with the disease, and proposing that our product will drive more consumers to these companies. Since arthritis is incurable, a strong product could be used by patients throughout the remainder of their lives, creating a loyal consumer base. For users, we provide an integrated platform that removes the technical challenges of using these products separately. We not only integrate all three technologies into a cohesive platform, we also ensure that users are able to access the latest technology, as we will regularly update our products. Instead of wrangling with three different platforms, we give users the ease of using one streamlined product.