Improving hand articulation

PUBLISHED 08.06.2020

Summer students at HoloCare

Summer students joined HoloCare for 6 weeks completing their internships for Sopra Steria. They worked with the development team and clinicians in improving communication during virtual multi-disciplinary meetings using HoloCares holographic solution. The students had the challenge of improving the holographic hands that represented clinicians' avatars during remote sessions. 

The summer internships main aim was to prepare university students for careers within digital technologies and provide a pathway to working with novel technologies such as HoloCares holographic solutions.   

Two developers, Petter and Filip, from NTNU Trondheim were tasked with implementing improvements to the holographic hand visualization through the HoloLens. “We started from flat static hands and had to iterate multiple times to get them working as functional hands”. Sending positional data of the hands over the network, scaling the hands, and replicating the natural hand movements were some of the largest challenges these young developers faced. 

We thought it was a quite an easy problem to solve, in the early dayI thought we would complete our tasks with little issue were some of the first impressions the developers had when first presented with their challenge. They soon came to realize that implementing these changes into an already existing solution is not as easy as expected. The real challenge came when it was time to put our solution to work, things that work locally on our computers don’t necessarily translate into the final solution when it has to work over a network with multiple users”  

Designing the hands was more than a technical challenge for the summer students. A central aspect of HoloCares solution is focused on creating solutions that are developed with clinicians needs in mindBy using design thinking frameworks, Ida a Service designer from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), worked closely with clinicians to better understand how the clinicians moved their body and hands when communicating.  

During the project we interviewed the clinicians and developed a problem statement of how we might ensure the hands are accurate representations of real hands, and how might we make sure the articulated hands are a natural enhancement of reality said Ida. The team conducted workshops to better understand what should be visually displayed when the users expressed their needs in given settings.  

Knut, the supervisor for the students during the summer, was optimistic that the improvements to the articulating hands the summer students made would reduce the effort required by clinicians when communicating by reducing the number of movements conducted during remote meetings. “We hope this will allow the clinicians to communicate using their natural body language instead of only using verbal communication”  

“I want to keep going!” said Ida during the last days of the internship, wanting to continue working on the HoloCare solution. Stating that it has been an incredibly rewarding experience that she wished would not end so soon. 

We hope the experience will help them in their future careers, and that they are interested in working together with HoloCare in the future” says Knut. “They have created truly useful additions to our solution which will be extended to other applications within HoloCare.”   

“I am highly impressed with this summer program and the amount of work achieved under the leadership of the great insightful managers at Sopra Steria and I look forward to seeing this work implemented into our clinical applications moving forward in HoloCare AS“ - Alison Sundset, CEO of HoloCare AS 

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