Usability Study Barcelona for the Real-world Health Scenario

From June 25th to June 28th 2024, SHARESPACE partners assembled at Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona for a first usability study for the health scenario. The involved partners include DFKI for the movement tracking, Cyens was involved for the rendering of the virtual environments, researchers from UJI were present for conducting the usability study, and the doctors and researchers from Vall d’Hebron were there to guide the low-back pain therapy.

The goal of the usability study was to test the SHARESPACE technology in a real-world setting. During the three days, twelve professionals (medical doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists), nine women and three men with a mean age of 41 years old and with extensive experience in dealing with chronic pain participated in testing the SHARESPACE health scenario. Participants conducted a set of rehabilitation exercises in pairs adopting one participant the role of the physiotherapist and the other one the role of the patient. Each participant could see their avatar in a mirror in the VR scenario and the other’s avatar.

Vall d’Hebron therapist with her virtual avatar

The average time expended in VR was 6 minutes. After the VR experience participants completed a set of questionnaires to measure presence (social, self, and spatial presence), usability, embodiment, and cybersickness. Most participants could perform the exercises with a completion rate of 80%. Usability was rated as moderate. Presence ratings were high, being spatial presence the highest followed by social presence and self-presence.

Regarding embodiment, ratings were also high regarding the use of avatars reporting moderate to high levels of ownership and agency. Cybersickness was not a problem for most participants as none of the participants stopped the VR experience because of this reason.

These results indicate that the first prototype of SHARESPACE health scenario is promising. The study also served to identify technical issues that will be improved in the following months to achieve highest scores in usability and test the scenario with end users, professionals and chronic pain patients.

Therapist guiding someone through the low backpain exercises in VR
SHARESPACE researchers at the usability study
All SHARESPACE researchers present in Barcelona for the usability study