Usability of an Immersive Augmented Reality Based Telerehabilitation System with Haptics (ARTESH) for Synchronous Remote Musculoskeletal Examination
This study describes the features and utility of a novel augmented reality based telemedicine system with haptics that allows the sense of touch and direct physical examination during a synchronous immersive telemedicine consultation and physical examination. The system employs novel engineering features: (a) a new force enhancement algorithm to improve force rendering and overcoming the “just-noticeable-difference” limitation; (b) an improved force compensation method to reduce the delay in force rendering; (c) use of the “haptic interface point” to reduce disparity between the visual and haptic data; and (d) implementation of efficient algorithms to process, compress, decompress, transmit and render 3-D tele-immersion data. A qualitative pilot study (n=20) evaluated the usability of the system. Users rated the system on a 26-question survey using a seven-point Likert scale, with percent agreement calculated from the total users who agreed with a given statement. Survey questions fell into three main categories: (1) ease and simplicity of use, (2) quality of experience, and (3) comparison to in-person evaluation. Average percent agreements between the telemedicine and in-person evaluation were highest for ease and simplicity of use (86%) and quality of experience (85%), followed by comparison to in-person evaluation (58%). Eighty-nine percent (89%) of respondents expressed satisfaction with the overall quality of experience. Results suggest that the system was effective at conveying audio-visual and touch data in real-time across 20.3 miles, and warrants further development.
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