UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

Moving Through Glass Details


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The first-ever augmented reality application providing round-the-clock aid for people living with Parkinson’s.

Mark Morris Dance Group and SS+K have created a wearable technology app which gives people living with Parkinson’s disease greater control and freedom in their daily lives. Created as a mobile supplement to the internationally-acclaimed Dance for PD® program developed by MMDG and Brooklyn Parkinson Group, Moving Through Glass was beta released to Dance for PD participants this Spring.

Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system, causes difficulties with movement and balance, including tremors, stiffness, and restricted range of motion. Over one million people suffer from Parkinson’s in the US, with over fifty thousand new cases diagnosed each year.

Built on Google's Glass platform, the "Moving Through Glass" application utilizes heads-up display, bone-inductive audio, and verbal and gestural navigation to allow users with significant motor impairment to portably and fluidly access dance and music-based exercises as-needed to help them keep moving throughout their day.

Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

As any UX practitioner knows, profiling the target user and understanding the limitations of the technology being used are key to designing rewarding and impactful experiences. Parkinson's patients are a unusual and challenging user group, quite different from traditional audiences in how they might be able to control and make use of a portable device in their daily routines. Google Glass, with extreme battery time limitations, unusual interfaces, and chronic hardware and software bugs, required extraordinary UX design skill in order to create an app that truly delivered real value to this audience at critical moments.

People with Parkinson's often become "frozen" and benefit from music and having someone to help initiate small repetitive movements to gradually "bounce" themselves back into full motion. They also often have difficulty walking and benefit immensely by following a "proxy walker" whose movements they can follow and imitate. These are just two examples of the many insights into the unique needs of this audience we gained through speaking with professional dance instructors at the Dance for PD program, and interviewing many people with Parkinson's themselves throughout the development of this app.

We set out to create an application that could serve a a guide, "proxy walker", or dance instructor for people with PD, to allow them to help themselves through those moments in their daily lives when they find themselves in immediate need of assistance in order to simply move. Ultimately, we created an application where with just two taps, or two spoken words, a person with PD can run through an entire set of progressive exercises and dance routines with music and heads-up video of an instructor, starting from "Get Me Moving" and "Warm Up" exercises, all the way to "Walk WIth Me" guided walks, and on to full guided dance routines. For scenarios where a user is able to perform more taps or spoken words, the app is highly navigable.

Submitted By: SS+K

Client Name: Mark Morris Dance Group

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