Saturday, December 12, 2009

NYISE Day 3 testing

NYISE Day 3 testing

The last day of testing was quite eventful!

Steve set up the equipment with relatively little difficulty.

We had the same eight subjects as day two. All the subjects were now familiar with the veering trials and the wii cane (day one they used their own canes), which was introduced day two. Every subject provided us with more veering trials. Most of the trials went really well, and it really seems like there were positive changes with less veering than the first day. Several times we asked subjects to walk the course with the feedback. Watching some of the subjects correct their line of travel WITHOUT THE FEEDBACK is amazing - it seemed magical with a few of them. (The data will tell!) The two subjects that had troubles on day one continued to have some difficulties on this third day. This has to do with ‘overcorrection’ and some other behaviors. When the system asked them to “go left” or “go right,” instead of making the minor adjustment with a small body rotation in the correct direction, these two subjects would make a large body rotation, in effect turning up to 90 degrees and sometimes walking perpendicular to the course. At such a point it is difficult for the subject to re-orient no matter what the feedback says. We attempted to change the feedback to say “go a little left/right” but the software would not accept the new text. Instead, it spoke the standard “go left/right” in the automated voice.

This is something to discuss and solve. The two subjects that became disoriented on the course both had cognitive involvement, and one was our youngest subject. Both were repeatedly coached repeatedly on how to adjust “just a little” before trials. They needed:
- prompts to respond to some of the feedback
- prompts when they did not move forward along the course
- physical manipulation to be reoriented to the course when they overcorrected

Can we design feedback for younger and more cognitively involved students that will address these situations? It might be that more and repeated preparation would be effective, showing the student how to adjust until they “get it” before the actual training. We simply did not have time to do this during the testing.

Right now we cannot tell where on the course the subject is located – we cannot yet track forward movement. When we can, we can certainly easily prompt students to keep moving forward when they stop.

We might need physical barriers to keep younger students on the course, not allowing them to turn 90 degree and walk off. We might try various types of feedback.

We also began to collect data on the cane arc width with most of the subjects (I believe 6 out of eight). I talked to each subject about why they would want to make their cane movements more narrow or more wide. I them let them move their canes left and right between my feet, showing them a correct width. We them had them move the cane back and forth, without walking, with the system feedback. The feedback said either wide or narrow (meaning too wide or narrow) or gave a single chime for a correct arc. Several of the kids were able to achieve repeated chimes after a few trials. For those who did well with stationary trails, we asked them to use the feedback when walking. For the most skilled subject, we gave her both veering feedback (with the positive double chime turned off after she told us it was too much) and cane arc width feedback. For this subject it actually seemed to work well!

The staff at NYISE was fantastic. The children subjects were all well-behaved. I conducted the post-testing surveys, which were also videotaped. Interestingly, not a single subject said the weight of the wiiCane was a problem, and I think 7 or 8 out of eight said that they wanted to spend more time with the wiiCane.

Finally -- dealing with some issues from the previous days. We checked with the kids about their “hearing the wall” – we were concerned that perhaps there was some echolocation happening. It turns out the subject that reported she could hear the wall was actually talking about circumstances when she is not wearing headphone and there is environmental noise to bounce off the walls. The other issue --- detecting the lights on the ceiling through the opaque goggles is still uncertain. We used a MINDFOLD sleepshade for all the subjects on Friday – the kids loved it because it is very padded and comfortable; but, we still may have little kids who are afraid of the dark and the goggles will may still be a better alternative in those situations.


sl said...

Gene, thanks for this excellent summary of yesterday's events. I agree that it was a strongly positive day, considering that this was just the preliminary set of sensing tools that are possible, and everything is still fairly unrefined. I am thrilled that both wii devices appear to be "seen" by the system pretty consistently. thus far, we are only using camera based data, and we have yet to add features that look at acceleration events also to improve responsiveness and intuitive use.

In general, I was less convinced than Gene that the system works to the extent that we are seeing real learning gains after such a short exposure to the treatment. But, I think these results definitely suggest extensive additional development and testing of an eventual product.

GB said...

Steve, you could very well be right. I could have imagined a positive response to the feedback. I do deal with this stuff almost every day in my real life as a mobility specialist, so maybe it is real.

I will be exploring all the biomechanical aspects of O&M on the train ride to Overbrook, reviewing the major texts in the field, so we can continue to consider the curriculum and the other tasks that we can shape with the wiicane.

sl said...

Well, I defer to your knowledge here. If you think you saw a learning gain, then we should really start trying to understand how many repetitions of various exercises are needed before we achieve measurable results. We can discuss this as a group tomorrow evening.