ITI Talks: Fixing injuries with VR / Climate change communication

The Interactive Technologies Institute hosted the ITI Talks event held this month. It was a great success, with two speakers presenting their latest research. The event occurred in a hybrid format, with physical locations in Lisbon and Funchal. During the event, the team discussed research on rehabilitating injuries with VR help and climate change communication.

The talks

Cristiano França presented his study on “Virtual Reality Gaming in Rehabilitation after Musculoskeletal Injury – User Experience Pilot Study.” He described a new technological solution for rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries using virtual reality (VR) gaming. The study analysed the variation in rated perceived exertion (RPE) and heart rate (HR) of participants undergoing rehabilitation based on different VR gaming. The study’s results indicated a statistically significant difference in RPE scale and HR across the five VR games throughout a complete rehabilitation session. Moreover, the results showed high perceived usability of the system. Additionally, there was a greater intrinsic motivation to perform the rehabilitation exercises, a high level of immersion, and a good experience in the VR gaming environment. The study has important implications for rehabilitating athletes recovering from musculoskeletal injuries.

Afterwards, the second speaker, Marta Ferreira, presented her research on “Reconnecting Audiences with Climate Change: Towards Relatable and Action-focused Data Interactions.” She discussed the design and testing of Finding Arcadia, an interactive data story that uses data humanism to shift the dialogue from crisis-focused to action-focused. The study focused on the communication potential of different media and their intersection with sustainability. In particular, she aims to develop engaging and action-focused climate change data interactions. The study had two pilot tests, one in Pavilhão do Conhecimento and the other in a local traditional market. The study’s results showed the effectiveness of the data visualisation approach in engaging and inspiring audiences towards climate action.

The speakers

Cristiano França is a researcher at ITI/LARSyS who has focused on virtual reality technology for the past three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a master’s in Interactive Media Design. In the meantime, he has developed a new technological solution for rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries based on virtual reality gaming.

Marta Ferreira is a design researcher with a degree in Communication Design and a Master’s degree in Typographic and Editorial Practices from FBAUL. Presently, she is pursuing a PhD in Digital Media from FCT/Técnico and is focused on applying her research interests in interaction projects related to sustainability. Marta’s research explores the intersection between different media and their communication potential.

Overall, the ITI Talks event held in March 2023 was an excellent opportunity for researchers to share their latest findings on essential topics. The presentations were informative and engaging, sparking exciting discussions during the lunch break. We are excited to see the next ITI Talks event in April.

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