Digital reminders for hand-surgery patients

In PalCom’s application area “Hand-surgery Rehabilitation” in-situ media recording helps patients benefit from physiotherapy

The main focus of CARE, for Collaborative Articulation in Rehabilitation, is the rehabilitation process following hand-surgery and how it may be improved by digital media. With this prototype PalCom’s researchers are looking into ways of storing the interaction between therapist and patient for later retrieval. The benefits of take-home instructional media are twofold:

  • Patients can review exercise instructions and advice
  • Further, they can share information with friends and family, helping them to understand their situation and provide needed support.

A digital consultation

  • The patient and therapist place their phones in the recording station when they agree to start a recording. Typically, this would be towards the end of the consultation when they go over the main points for the patient to keep in mind until next consultation. The displays on the phones show what the camera sees.
  •  They start recording by pressing the Record button appearing on the phone.
  • When they are done, they press Stop or simply take the phones out of the recording station. The display on the patient’s phone now shows a prominent handle to the new recording which can be viewed later on, perhaps on the PalCom-enabled TV set at the patient’s home.

Palpable signals

The design of the recording station illustrates a design ideal of “explicit interaction”, which is a way in which palpable computing can be understood from the users’ point of view. Explicit captures the self-evident nature of the interface design: place the phone in the recording station to form an assembly, as well as the social visibility of the assembly: when phones are in the recording station, recording is in progress; hence colleagues can avoid interrupting the consultation. 

Contact details

Pelle Ehn
Department of Art, Culture and Communication
University of Malmö 
205 06 Malmö
Phone: +46 040 6657150
E-mail: pelle.ehn(at)

Last Modified: 12 April 2007, © PalCom