DATE:  January 16, 2020     CATEGORIES:  Community

ON Dec 7 &8, 2019, Artisan’s Asylum member Melissa Glick participated in her first hack-a-thon, Hacking the Arts which was held at the MIT Media Lab. Her team won 2nd Place for Best All Round Hack!

Melissa pitched an idea about using VR to interact with shapes and colors and was approached by Yu-Ting Wang and Ziqing L, who were excited to incorporate her idea to combine VR  and physical therapy. Yu-Ting studies industrial design at Pratt and Ziqing is studying computer science at NYU. They brought all the equipment including an HTC vive headset, Leap motion sensor, and cameras. Casey McNulty who studied Interrelated Media at Mass Art joined the team, tasked with designing the colorful building blocks envisioned by the team.

The goal of our project was to create a VR environment that would make the boring, repetitive movements of physical therapy entertaining, fun and possibly creative.  The project had a compelling real-life application to improve physical therapy experiences.

Their collaboration resulted in FLEX VR, an interactive Physical Therapy game-like environment where colorful blocks fly through the air with each rep. Once an exercise series is completed the blocks have accumulated to build shapes, such as a tree, a mountain or even a puppy! 

Yu-Ting and Ziqing came with the VR equipment, experience, and physical therapy concept, while Casey contributed to the creative design. A major factor in the project’s success was the compelling narrative and real-life application provided by Melissa’s experience with “cell phone” elbow and the tedium of physical therapy, inspiring the use of immersive VR experiences as motivation to achieve a health benefit.

Congrats to Melissa and the team!