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Lexia - Interactive Training System for patients with Alexithymia
I believe the concept of lexia - an interactive mirror that helps people to better understand their own emotion - would be a great benefit and speed up therapy.
A leading researcher from Zurich
We use motion tracking and image recognition to help people better understand their emotions. According to recent research, about 10% of the world’s population are limited in their ability to understand and express their own emotions. These limitations let people only feel emotions through physiological reactions in their body and not recognize them as what they are. For example would happiness only be felt as a tingly sensation in the stomach or anger as a pressure in the head.
Affected people can learn to understand their emotions by observing their body’s physiological reactions, such as muscle tension, position of shoulders and other physical reactions and connecting them to a certain emotion - then being able to express them to others. Training is difficult without help – that’s why we use high tech to make it easy.
What is Alexithymia?
Also called emotional blindness, Alexithymia is a personal trait characterized by the subclinical inability to identify and describe emotions experienced by one’s self or others. It leads to unempathic emotional responding and . Alexithymia has been estimated to occur in about 10% of the population and can come with a number of psychiatric conditions.
What are the users needs?
The core issue of this condition is to have a limited ability to distinguish and describe own emotions, as well as to understand and react other people’s ones. This is also shown in linguistic, facial expressions and gestures differences compared to people without Alexithymia.
Through our user and expert interviews with patients and treating doctors we were able to learn a lot about people with Alexithymia.
To develop our project, we researched for the most convenient technological applications and IoT tools to support people with Alexithymia to fulfill their needs. After some research we decided to work on a smart mirror that functions as an assisting tool with different technical features:
The main function of the interactive mirror is to help the user to better understand, differ and express their own emotions. The mirror offers a learning concept with individual training levels. The mirror assists the users in their lprocess through tasks and questions.
These tasks are analyzed and evaluated by face & body tracking software. By collecting data of the user’s facial expressions and gestures, the mirror learns more about the user with each use and can come to individual results faster.
Since the mirror is based on the concept of self training, the context of use is a safe space where the user feels content, such as the own home without the interaction of other people.
Following pictures shows the whole user process through the interactive training system.
To not overwhelm the user with too much input and also keeping the pedagogical factor in mind we decided to build up our training system in different levels.
Following Screens show the most important steps of each learning process.
1_Welcome and Scanning
To welcome the user and take the context of the user into account, the mirror will ask about their day. After that the user will select if they want to train or check their progress. On the training section, they choose the emotion they want to work on.
The mirror will play the resources according to the emotion the user is working on. While this happens, the mirror will scan and record the the user and it’s reactions to it.
Once the user is done with the multimedia content, the mirror asks the user questions about certain body parts. This gives the user the possibility to connect certain physiological reactions to the chosen emotion.
In the next part of the training process, the mirror displays the recordings of the user while watching the chosen resource. The mirror will give feedback to the user how he/she was doing with his/her expressions and where he/ she could have emphasize reactions more.
The mirror will show images related to the chosen emotion and the user will be asked to imitate the people in the pictures. In this way, the user learns to better express the own emotions, and will also enable them show sympathy to other peoples emotion.
6_Feedback and Evaluation
Once the training session is over, the mirror asks the user for self evaluation and gives feedback based on the process of the day. This allows the user to see his own success and to recognize which emotions still need to be worked on.
The Lexia app is an additional feature to the mirror, to create a community platform where people with Alexithymia can be in touch and share their process and experience with Lexia. They learn about their condition and connect with other people with the same condition.