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Applying AR to Cardiac Rehab

AR Heart Health is an augmented reality health platform to deliver education and improve medication adherence.


 Project Time: April 2018      Tools: Unity 3D, ARkit, Maya, Rhino      Exhibited at: NYU ITP Spring Show 2018,  New York Hall of Science’s Maker Night– Sep 20, 2018

AR Heart Health was my NYU ITP thesis project. My previous internship at HTD inspired me to apply AR’s potential benefits to our health and well-being.

Project Goal:
1. Improve patient medication adherence, cardiac rehab education, and promote self-awareness of heart health.
2. Create smooth interactions between the real and virtual world in terms of time and space.

Providing a Pixar style AR experience that is delightful and fun to use. I believe that visually rich AR experience will improve medication adherence, patient engagement, and create a better relationship between the patients and their heart anatomy to help them think about medication and rehab differently.

Context and Problem

Target Audience – Cardiac Patients

This app will be adopted and enjoyed by the elderly,
but highly applicable for youth as well.

The Problem

1. The US spends $231 billion dollars on cardiovascular disease annually.
2. Non-adherence with medication is a multidimensional health care problem.

About Cardiac

Only 4% of patients complete cardiac rehab and are educated about heart health.
While 96% of them couldn’t complete cardiac rehab.

Non-adherence Reasons

Lacking understanding of the disease, medication adherence, how drugs work, and the complexity of medication management, no symptoms, etc.

Existing Solutions

My Solution

Design Workflow

Storyboard Sketch
Feature List
( MVP- narrative-complete, not feature complete )
User Personas
User Scenario
user scenario
Wireframes     InVision Prototype  >
user flow
User Testing and Feedback
Motion Demo – Gamified Notifications
AR mockup

Mock up AR graphics with After Effects

Key Features

I made this “How Beta Blockers Work” as an example.

By understanding how drugs work, patients will be more willing to cooperate.

Human anatomy is extremely complex. Complexity is best explained in 3D environments.

Spatial learning allows patients to engage with 3D content directly, rather than having to imagine it while reading the complex and Latin-based medical literature.

The notification provides visually rich animations in AR to inform and delight the patients when they think taking medicines as a burden.

It also helps the patients with medication management, including refill reminder and prescription expiration date.

Users with an apple watch can check their heart rates while using this app.

Since each time patients take the drug, no immediate difference is felt, I believe this real-time self-awareness can help to push them to take medicines on time.


Building rewards into behavior change:

Each time when patients take an action, they will get rewards. Like flowers.

By turning the burdensome rehab trajectory into an experience of a beautiful garden inside the room, the process becomes more like meditation rather than work.

UI Guideline
design guideline

Mobile App Implementation

There are so many technologies out there to build an AR experience.
Finally, I chose ARKit to build this app, as Apple has good integration with health data and I used the Watch kit for Unity to have the program communicate with Apple Watch.

NYSCI's Maker Night

Showcased at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI)’s Maker Night for middle school, high school, and college students in attendance.

NYSCI's Maker Night 9/20
NYSCI's Maker Night 9/20

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