‘Lius’ constitutes an interactive system for those unable to interact in conventional terms. It facilitates ease and dignity of vocal communication for individuals that are undergoing a deterioration of physical wellbeing.
To give a case study, Stephen Hawking’s talker works given that he has the capacity for movement in his cheek; the muscle with which he selects commands. Notwithstanding this, motor neurone disease (MND) rarely affects two individuals in the same way. This makes it inherently difficult to design a universal experience; offering intuitive use for all affected and at every stage of their condition. That is how ‘Lius’ strives to empower sufferers.
The focus lies in addressing usability concerns for those with physical impairment through intuitive industrial and interaction design.
The problem is multi-faceted, necessitating both a physical and a digital solution. These must be harmonious, consistent and complementary. In terms of digital interfacing, the issue requires the design of a flexible system architecture, coherently navigable with multiple peripheral input devices. For this project, gesture control and eye tracking were used as a proof of concept. This system is housed within a physical chassis, aspiring to surpass the negative connotations currently synonymous with assistive technology. This manifests in the design of a highly stylised product, adhering to the requirements of those with reduced physical capacity.
The spectrum of deterioration for MND sufferers does not adhere to any patterns and can not necessarily be quantified. As a result, the product is designed intrinsically to be scalable. This is demonstrable in both the physical and digital aspects of the ‘Lius’ device. The physical product offers 90 and 360 degree pivotal motion in two of three possible axis, accounting for the sufferer’s lack of physical dexterity. The user interface is designed and implemented such that it is navigable without the need for a ‘selection command’. This means that it will function consistently with an array of peripheral inputs; be it touch screen, mouse control, gesture control, eye gaze or audible command. This ensures inclusivity in the way it empowers sufferers.
Furthermore, beyond its primary purpose of assisting communications for MND sufferers, the device constitutes an inclusive control interface with purposes that greatly surpass the assistive technology market.
Ostensibly, the ‘Lius’ device empowers afflicted individuals to maintain dignity and ease of vocal communication, irrespective of their point in the spectrum of deterioration. It is designed to be both flexible and scalable in terms of the physical product and its digital architecture.