How do we design and provide appropriate home modifications to an increasingly diverse population with different mobility and accessibility needs? Examining a person-centered approach to addressing such needs, a multidisciplinary team, led by Dr. Sherry Ahrentzen from the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, is developing and testing a Virtual Reality (VR) tool — named CODY, for Co-Design for You — for experiencing and co-designing home alterations by individuals with movement disorders.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), this project specifically focuses on movement challenges faced by persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) to demonstrate how effective CODY may be for those whose daily life is impeded by PD symptoms.
The tool offers an interactive system that allows persons with PD to be co-designers of their own home modifications. The VR model was developed in Fall 2018 and early spring 2019. Testing began in April at the University of Florida’s Gator Tech Smart House and is expected to be completed by July 1.
Along with Dr. Ahrentzen, Dr. Ravi Srinivasan from the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management and Dr. Shabboo Valipoor from the Department of Interior Design comprise the three key principal investigators of this research. Yet their collaborative efforts engage the expertise of other faculty beyond the College of Design, Construction and Planning, notably:
• Michael Okun, College of Medicine and Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases at UF Health
• Sherrilene Classen, Department of Occupational Therapy
• Sri Kalyanaraman, College of Journalism and Communications
• Charles Levy, College of the Arts, Center for Arts and Medicine
• Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, Department of Neurology
• Leonardo Almeida, Department of Neurology
• Wissam Deeb, Department of Neurology
The researchers anticipate that further testing and development of CODY will result in a tool that clinicians and rehabilitation centers could use to assess specific home modifications most beneficial to individual clients with PD or other movement disorders.