Matti has been awarded national runner-up at the prestigious international James Dyson Award.

(18-09-2020) Matti, an interactive rehabilitation mat developed by UGent spin-off Creative Therapy was awarded as a national runner-up for a Dyson Award.

The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It's open to current and recent design engineering students, and is run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson's charitable trust, as part of its mission to get young people excited about design engineering.

This year Matti, an interactive rehabilitation gaming mat was awarded national runner-up. Matti is a pressure sensitive rehabilitation device created by UGent spin-off Creative Therapy.  Patients improve their balance and coordination by playing exergames on the mat.

What it does

Matti reduces boredom in physiotherapy by allowing user to play games while performing their exercises. It also monitors the progression of the patient over time. In this way it becomes clear if the patient is getting better over time (or not).

The inspiration

The idea to develop this product actually came from a group of physiotherapy students themselves. They suggested that games could be a good motivator to make patients do their exercises. This could reduce the risk of therapy fatigue which in turn could make the rehabilitation process faster and more pleasant.

How it works

Matti consists of 4 different layers. The bottom layer of the product is an anti-slip layer which prevents the mat from slipping while a person is playing. The second layer is a flexible pressure sensor grid that monitors the actions of the patient. It is a grid of 64 by 64 lines resulting in a measurement of 4096 pressure points. The information of these pressure points is mapped by a microprocessor and sent to a computer as an input for the games. The third layer is a LED grid of 225 (15x15) light points. These leds serve as an input for the user on how to perform exercises when playing on the mat. The top layer of this product is a transparent washable textile layer. A LED foam is placed between the LEDs and the transparent textile to make the mat comfortable to play on. The dimensions of the product are 1.3m by 1.3m. The mat is rollable and medical class 1 CE approved.

Design process

Three design iterations where necessary to arrive at our final design iteration 0: As a proof of concept for the three physiotherapy students a copy of a dancing mat was made by four pieces of aluminum foil and a Makey Makey (Photo 2). iteration 1: The first iteration of the product used pressure switches interact with the mat. The patient could step in 6 directions (front, back, left, right, diagonally-left, diagonally-right).Two games were developed with this prototype: a maze game and a version of subway surfer. iteration 2: Usertesting this product with physiotherapists showed that it is better to be able to sense over the complete surface instead of using fixed switches. A new prototype was developed with custom pressure sensors and LEDs were added to make the product more interactive. iteration 3: More analyses and games appeared to be necessary after validating the concept with more physiotherapists. So, in the latest iteration new games, analysis tools and a more reliable product were produced.

How it is different

Matti focuses on a specific segment of the market. Since very expensive versions of this product may exist on the market, we focused our efforts to make the games more motivating and design the product in a way that it is accessible to smaller practices as well. Many therapists have experimented with the wii balance board, but were not convinced by the accuracy. Matti differentiates itself by offering therapy specific exercises and offering them to physiotherapists via an online platform. This allows the therapist to easily stay up to date with the latest exergames and track the progression of their patients.

Future plans

We're interested to see when imbalance can be a risk for certain patients. An algorithm is being developed to assess the risk of falling down in elderly when they are standing on the mat. By offering this fall detection tool in elderly homes, it becomes easier to assess which residents are at risk of falling down and winding up with a fracture. Apart from this, the creative therapy team is also working on solutions to monitor strength in the hands and arms of the users. This allows for both upper and lower body assessment.

Read more about the project here! https://www.mycreativetherapy.com/
Source