Project Description

Tech-stickers for physio exercise

Working with patients, professionals & startups for patient specific physiotherapy

We aim to help patients live their daily lives with the least worries about their disease or treatment. Sometimes technology can be used to work on that goal. We meet startup companies that work on new technologies and this time we brought the two together. One day of exploration, prototyping and testing, to see whether tech can help people with specific spasm problematics to keep them on track with their treatment. For them it is important to incorporate their physiotherapy exercises in their daily activities. How can we do that?

The challenge

How can we help patients subtilely remind them which exercises they could do, when and where?

The solution

We found that near field communication (NFC) technology could help in systematically reminding patients of their exercises within the comfort of their homes. NFC offers a way for objects to communicate with mobile phones when they are near enough. Specific NFC stickers were designed to be positioned throughout the homes of patients: As soon a phone is used to scan a sticker, a video pops up on the screen showing a specific exercise that can be performed in that particular spot. One could for example put stickers next to the stairs, in the kitchen and other areas in the house that are suited for reminding patients and performing exercises. The video’s could consist footage of the patient doing the exercise themselves at the physio’s practice, to be reminded of tricks that apply to their individual cases.

What did we do?

We brought a physiotherapist from our rehabilitation department, working with people with spasm problematics, together with two engineers from a startup company in NFC technology. We organized a one day sprint in which we introduced each others areas of expertise and had a brainstorm on how the care for these types of patients could be improved using the technology the startup is developing. The same day we started prototyping a potential solution AND testing it in real life situations.
This alone was a great way to make quick progress, but the best has yet to come: For a great part of the day we had the privilege of having a patient in our midst, who was not only willing to participate in testing, but provided us with insights in what it is to have these problems and how he dealt with it. This helped enormously for all parties: the physiotherapist gained new insights in how he could improve his care for these patients and the engineers learned more about how they could improve their product for use by patients.