Usability of three-dimensional augmented visual cues delivered by smart glasses on (Freezing of) gait in parkinson's disease

Sabine Janssen*, Benjamin Bolte, Jorik Nonnekes, Marian Bittner, Bastiaan R. Bloem, Tjitske Heida, Yan Zhao, Richard J.A. van Wezel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)
    19 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    External cueing is a potentially effective strategy to reduce freezing of gait (FOG) in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD). Case reports suggest that three-dimensional (3D) cues might be more effective in reducing FOG than two-dimensional cues. We investigate the usability of 3D augmented reality visual cues delivered by smart glasses in comparison to conventional 3D transverse bars on the floor and auditory cueing via a metronome in reducing FOG and improving gait parameters. In laboratory experiments, 25 persons with PD and FOG performed walking tasks while wearing custom-made smart glasses under five conditions, at the end-of-dose. For two conditions, augmented visual cues (bars/staircase) were displayed via the smart glasses. The control conditions involved conventional 3D transverse bars on the floor, auditory cueing via a metronome, and no cueing. The number of FOG episodes and percentage of time spent on FOG were rated from video recordings. The stride length and its variability, cycle time and its variability, cadence, and speed were calculated from motion data collected with a motion capture suit equipped with 17 inertial measurement units. A total of 300 FOG episodes occurred in 19 out of 25 participants. There were no statistically significant differences in number of FOG episodes and percentage of time spent on FOG across the five conditions. The conventional bars increased stride length, cycle time, and stride length variability, while decreasing cadence and speed. No effects for the other conditions were found. Participants preferred the metronome most, and the augmented staircase least. They suggested to improve the comfort, esthetics, usability, field of view, and stability of the smart glasses on the head and to reduce their weight and size. In their current form, augmented visual cues delivered by smart glasses are not beneficial for persons with PD and FOG. This could be attributable to distraction, blockage of visual feedback, insufficient familiarization with the smart glasses, or display of the visual cues in the central rather than peripheral visual field. Future smart glasses are required to be more lightweight, comfortable, and user friendly to avoid distraction and blockage of sensory feedback, thus increasing usability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number279
    JournalFrontiers in neurology
    Volume8
    Issue numberJUN
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017

    Keywords

    • Augmented reality
    • External cueing
    • Freezing of gait
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Smart glasses
    • Visual cues
    • Wearables

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