An important aspect of rehabilitation is the assessment of a patient's abilities prior to and during treatment. Effective assessment has traditionally been done using the Barthel Index, which clearly defines functional activities. Unfortunately, current means of communicating the Barthel Index to non-European languages has proved to be problematic. The original LIFE toolset was created from this need. Working with the University of Michigan 3D Lab, this project enhanced the existing LIFE toolset by converting existing 2D animations with fluid 3D animations and environments, as well as improving the user's experience by simplifying the interface and presentation of plates.
On the technical side, 3D Studio Max waz used to create the characters and animations with Brazil used for rendering. The application itself was written in ActionScript 3 for the Flash platform. Once development was finished the application was used in remote areas of Mongolia and Ghana so successfully that it is being commercialized. The ability for people to just point at what represents their current function really does appear to be universal breaking down language barriers.
The project has since been published in the journal "Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation". Haig AJ, Jayarajan S, Maslowski E, Yamakawa KSJ, Tinney M, Beier KP, Juang D, Huang M, Chan L, Boggess T, Loar J, Owusa-Ansah B, Kalpakjian C. Development of a Language Independent Functional Evaluation (L.I.F.E.). Arch Phys Med Rehabil. Accepted May 18, 2009
The project was also included in the World Health Organization's 2010 World Report on Disability.
Researcher: Andrew Haig