In addition to Kahol, co-principal investigators on the project are Jack Dennerlein of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and Devin Jindrich, an ASU kinesiologist.
Kahol said the project initially will focus on evaluating the impact multi-touch devices have on the human musculoskeletal system. Users will be fitted with electromyography (EMG) equipment to measure muscle forces, and cyber gloves to measure kinematic features that are produced while they interact with multi-touch systems. The researchers will then evaluate the impact of those stresses.
The second part of the project will develop biomechanical models where the user will be able to "enter the motion of a gesture, and the system will produce the forces being exerted through that motion, like a specific movement of the hand," Kahol explained. "We would then take this data back to the Microsofts, the Apples and other manufacturers so they could use it when they are designing new devices."
The system, Kahol said, will be built with off the shelf components and it will give designers a new tool to use when developing new multi-touch systems.
"The designers, the computer scientists, the programmers, they know little about biomechanical systems, they just want a system that they can employ in a usable manner and tells them if a gesture causes stress or not," Kahol said. "So our major challenge is going to be developing the software, the tool kit and the underlying models that will drive the tool kits."
Kahol said that the last time designers developed a fundamental interaction system with computers they modified the standard keyboard. While it was useful, it was not without its share of drawbacks.
"When we developed the keyboard, we didn't think through how working with it would affect the hands, arms, etc.," Kahol said. "As a result, it created a multimillion dollar industry in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. That i
|Contact: Skip Derra|
Arizona State University