Mis-using Bluetooth wristbands to enhance cognitive accessibility of an app for inpatients with severe brain injuries

Monday, 27 August, 2:40 PM to 3:20 PM
Duncan Babbage, Auckland University of Technology, Centre for eHealth

This talk covers the implementation of a novel authentication mechanism using inexpensive Bluetooth wristbands for an iPad app being developed in partnership with an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation service. The Inpatient Portal app was developed and trialed to provide a mechanism for clients with recent severe brain injuries to independently view videos they had made with their clinicians regarding why they were in rehabilitation, and what their rehabilitation goals were. The authentication mechanism was trialed over several months with a series of six clients of the brain injury service who were part of the initial pilot of the Inpatient Portal app. Using signal strength as an indicator of proximity provided the ability to implement a staged authentication process that would enable a client with a serious brain injury to be firstly identified when they were in the vicinity of the iPad (c. 3-5m) and then automatically logged in to their account within the app when they approached closer to the device (c. 1m). This talk will cover the implementation of this using Core Bluetooth, discuss the pros (accessibility, ease of use) and potential cons (security, reliability) of this approach. The primary take-home message from this presentation is to highlight cognitive accessibility opportunities in the design of mobile apps. The project described in this presentation was supported by a seed grant (#3705718 / A582) from the Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE), funded by the Tertiary Education Commission of New Zealand.

About Duncan Babbage

Duncan Babbage, PhD is Director of the Centre for eHealth and an Associate Professor in Rehabilitation at Auckland University of Technology. Duncan is a recovering clinical psychologist and self-taught iOS developer. He was both developer of the Inpatient Portal app for iPad discussed in this presentation and principal investigator of the underlying research project. Duncan is also developer of Intro, a contacts app on steroids for iPhone (https://intro.app). Intro has a particular focus on helping people learn names, recognize people, and recall information about people you’ve met.