Designing Computer Therapies

Dr. Marilyn Tremaine develops computer-based rehabilitation programs for stroke victims.

Research involving human-computer interaction is the specialty of Marilyn Tremaine, professor of information systems. She developed an audio browser that allows information access for blind users. Users provide input to the browser by stroking their fingers on a touch pad.  The browser responds with spoken output based on the particular cell touched by the user.  The device allows users to search an address book, a collection of music or read a downloaded copy of the current news.


Another project, in collaboration with Michael Recce, professor of biomedical engineering, Alma Merians of UMDNJ, and Grigore Burdea and Howard Poizner of Rutgers, developed a Virtual Reality system for rehabilitating hand function in stroke patients. The PC-based desktop system uses two hand input devices, a CyberGlove and a RMII force feedback glove, to allow the user to interact with one of four rehabilitation exercises. Specific exercises work on each of the specific parameters of hand movement -- range of motion, speed of motion, fractionation (the ability to move individual fingers separately) or strength. The patient receives performance-based target levels that adapt between sessions in order to induce the user to improve.


Another team, including Dr. Tremaine, Dr. Burdea of Rutgers and Judy Deutsch at UMDNJ, developed a virtual reality ankle and foot rehabilitation program. Patients steer virtual planes and boats through bad weather and over waves using a force feedback driving pedal requiring various ankle and feet rotations that serve as rehabilitative practice for the user.