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Interactive Media Systems, TU Wien

Game-based Health Monitoring using Tangible User Interface Objects

Thesis by Marianne Ternek

Supervision by Hannes Kaufmann and Emanuel Vonach


Patients being monitored in hospitals often do not behave as in their daily life. Especially for children such examinations can lead to stress associated with the clinical visit and the exposure to a different environment. These influencing parameters can result in false readings and furthermore in incorrect diagnosis. This circumstance could be overcome with an interface that offers a stress-reducing distraction by recording medical data in an unperceived way. For that purpose we designed a tangible user interface which acquires health values during a game most suitable for children. To determine the requirements for such a tangible user interface one of the first steps is to identify the possible medical sensors that could be used in a tabletop game and which of them are able to record representative and comparable medical values. Furthermore these sensors and the required equipment for their correct usage needs to be adapted to fit the physical objects used as input and output devices for the designed interface. The combination of these developed tangibles in a game that also satisfies children brought us to our finally implemented interface called "StoryCubes": The tangibles - realized as wooden cubes - tell a story when held in a proper way, at the right time and for a certain duration. These restrictions are needed to enable the sensors to perform accurately and therefore one challenge during this master thesis lies in providing enough information to let the users know how to use them correctly. This so-called affordance is realized through feedback, appropriate constraints and the cube design itself. After completing the hardware and software, our game concept is evaluated with 20 participants. The participating children were asked about usability issues, for example if they are able to comprehend the game logic and if they enjoy playing. The test with a number of adults on the other hand was mainly used for representative medical measurements and proof of concept. The results of this study are promising and show a high acceptance for this kind of user interfaces, but also give us some improvement suggestions for the future.


M. Ternek: "Game-based Health Monitoring using Tangible User Interface Objects"; Supervisor: H. Kaufmann, E. Vonach; Institut für Softwaretechnik und Interaktive Systeme, 2015; final examination: 03-02-2015.


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