Baylor Researcher Receives NSF Grant to Study Gesture-Based Interaction for Users with Chronic Pain

Sept. 14, 2015
Michael PoorMichael Poor courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Eric Eckert, (254) 710-1964

WACO, Texas (Sept. 14, 2015) –Michael Poor, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science in Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has received a $158,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund his research on the exploration of gestural interaction usage for users with chronic pain-related diseases and conditions.

“Until recently, gesture interaction has remained quite specialized,” Poor said. “As gesture-based interaction hits the mainstream consumer market with hardware such as Xbox Kinect and the Leap Motion, designers of gesture-based interaction will need to take into account the limitations of a broader range of users, including those suffering with CPD.”

Touchless gestural interaction is one area of computer interaction that relies heavily on a user’s ability to move and interact. While some estimate that up to 55 percent of the general population suffers from some form of chronic pain, especially in the joints, it is necessary for designers of gesture-based hardware to take into account the physical constraints that could make gestural interaction a difficult and potentially painful experience.

“As computer scientists, we are tasked with solving problems, and we have to take into account the end user,” said Greg Speegle, Ph.D., chair of the department of computer science at Baylor. “While the specific purpose of Dr. Poor’s research is to define a gesture paradigm that will provide better interaction for users suffering with CPD, his findings also will be applicable to numerous other interaction styles such as augmented and virtual reality, touch and standard graphical user interfaces.”

Through his research, Poor hopes to provide software engineers with the necessary framework to help alleviate potential physical issues for general gesture usage and lessen the chance of user’s developing future physical issues.

by Bethany Harper , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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