Focus on Home Assessment
How Augmented Reality Could Impact Home Assessments
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Feb 01, 2021
NITRUM PHOTO: COURTESY SUNRISE MEDICAL
When Sunrise Medical launched the Nitrum ultralightweight
wheelchair in late 2020 (see page
26), the manufacturer also introduced a pair of
digital tools on its Web site (sunrisemedical.com) to help
seating and wheeled mobility clinicians, suppliers and
consumers to more accurately visualize the Nitrum they’d
The first tool, called the 3D
Visualizer, enables Web site
visitors to choose various Nitrum
options — from frame to backrest,
casters, sideguards, rear
wheels, wheel locks and frame
accessories — and immediately
see what these choices look like
and how they affect each other.
While consumers might be most
interested in the aesthetic results
of frame colors and accents,
clinicians and suppliers can
instantly see the differences
that come from changing, for
instance, frame inset and frame
The second tool is an Augmented Reality feature that,
with the scan of a QR code via a smartphone, places
an image of a Nitrum into a real environment, such as a
hallway of a home.
If you’ve ever used an app such as Houzz or IKEA Place
to see how a new sofa or table would look in your living
room or dining room, you get the idea.
Augmented Reality Meets the Seating & Wheeled
Mobility Home Assessment
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth
and remote services have become essential to keeping
seating and wheelchair evaluations moving, even when
it isn’t possible for all members of the evaluation team to
meet in person.
Right away, the home assessment seemed to be
a part of the evaluation process that could easily be
conducted remotely. By using a tape measure to check
doorway widths and to check bathroom square footage,
and by using a smartphone to take photos and shoot
short videos of hallways and kitchens, clients, family
members and caregivers can send clinicians and
suppliers vital environmental information without anyone
leaving the office or their home.
Now to that equation, add Augmented Reality, which
combines real-world environments with computer-generated
images or other data.
If you have ever been told that a hotel room or a
bedroom is accessible, only to find out upon arrival that
the doorway leading into the bathroom or the space
around the bed is far narrower than claimed, you’ve
found a potential application for Augmented Reality.
Photographs can lack scale or measurements; measurements
can lack context. But combine a photo of a
bathroom with a smartphone app that measures the
bathroom, and you have real-world information that’s
much more reliable.
Augmented Reality’s Future: Upgraded Holographic
Technology Is Coming
Architects, contractors, interior designers and realtors
are already using Augmented Reality apps to generate
measurements for rooms and objects via smartphone
camera. Apps currently available include ARPlan 3D,
CamToPlan, AirMeasure, and Augmented Reality Tape
Even when the current public health emergency
has passed, remote-service home assessments could
accurately collect information that could lead to better
seating and wheeled mobility outcomes. For time-strapped
suppliers, especially those serving clients in
rural areas, Augmented Reality assessments could result
in completing more assessments in less time. And for
clients and families, Augmented Reality provides the
ability to collect measurements at their convenience
while skipping the in-person supplier visits.
Meanwhile, the future of Augmented Reality systems
includes upgraded holographic technology that could
provide enhanced three-dimensional views.
In January, the Phys.org digital publication quoted
Jonghyun Kim, a Senior Research Scientist at tech
company NVIDIA and a Visiting Researcher at Stanford
University: “Augmented and virtual reality systems are
poised to have a transformative impact on our society
by providing a seamless interface between a user and
the digital world. Holographic displays could overcome
some of the biggest remaining challenges for these
systems by improving the user experience and enabling
more compact devices.”
Sounds great. Bring it home!
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.