I first got the idea of 'touch screen therapy' watching my clients rhythmically tap away on their smart phones during breaks in a session. They'd effortlessly reply to messages. Some could even text message while on their bellies leaning over to get their Blackberry off the floor. So when I saw that trend, I also saw an opportunity to use that social behavior to get the infrastructure of my work onto that wave. So I got busy breaking down what was so addicting about it all.
Much of my work in the world of somatics has to do with bridging vision and posture. When I see a small child turning their head, a book, or both to one side to color or read I know they'll be an asymmetry in their posture and gait later on if that habit isn't addressed. I pay attention to how cities use advertising billboards to pace and lead drivers into making decisions to shop locally at a nonconscious level. In fact, the whole notion of neuromarketing is based on hooking the eyes and brain into getting the body to yield to the coherence of the signals they send, whether it's color, motion, form or the illusion of depth. The proliferation of the smart phone technology has impacted my view of the future of health care. Just as Dustin Hoffman was once advised in this clip from "The Graduate", there's a great future in plastics...the difference now being that the plasticity we're taking about is neuroplasticity.
The app world and the people who thrive in it have a very dissociated perspective of the users they serve. They live in the visual bias the culture rewards. And the ironic part of it is that the very people working in the app world are unaware of that the bias includes them! Take a look at the evidence below. The irony stunned me.
The Web is Dead. Long Live The Internet(Wired SEPT '10)
Combine that with this information from AWARECOMM.COM and it paints a bleak picture for virtual education...
Click on the diagram for additional notes...
They go on to report that a staggering 77% of our population struggles when it comes to learning information.
The insight I arrived at was to design an app that plays like a game but works with the brain. That boils down to using the knowledge of the biases wired into the social brain to engage it in a way that entrains the body of the user to coordinate them using visual cues. All major and social media does this tangentially but not with enough focus to entrain people deeply. With the advent of the smart phone, we can now complete the loop and create an app that induces more visual motor integration (VMI).
Touch Screen Therapy
Education goes to great lengths to divide our attention. They split physical education and mental education. The divide Math and English. They separate science and art. That approach has permeated the culture for decades. It's a sad irony that the alliterations of the world of texting like OMG, LOL and WTF have become part of the cultural lexicon. A generation raised in the datasphere of video games, the internet and now smart phones has uncoupled their eyes from their bodies. The advent of Wii Fit and Brain Age are perfect for a home-based world that operates of the old meme of cocooning. The mobile worldthat we live in now brings it's digital technology along with them into their real-time day. So I simply took what people already do and reverse engineered a game app that would take the noise out of their eyes and brain and in the process, ground the body. Given these conditions and the trends in both health 2.0 information and current health care delivery , it appears we're entering an era of 'mobile medicine' that blends and embeds field experts, technology and consumer needs.
The result of that effort is what I'm currently developing. To learn more, view the powerpoint linked below.
To be notified when the app is available and/or become a partner with us in promoting it to both like-minded professionals and the public, complete this feedback form and I'll make sure to you get the necessary information ASAP. It's been an adventure designing the app. I'm sure developing it more will be too.
References Encoding Eye & Hand Movements (ie. matching inner/outer social rhythms)
The similarity between the two fixation patterns prompts one to envisage encoding as a rehearsal by simulation of the drawing action. Jeannerod (1995, 2001) postulated a similarity in neural terms between the state where an action is simulated and the state of execution of that action. Because in drawing the execution state entails both eye and hand movements, simulation during encoding should likewise involve both the eye and the hand. Jeannerod proposed that this was indeed what happened, with both visual and motor systems being activated, the latter together with an inhibitory mechanism preventing actual muscular activity. Systematic tests would need to be devised to confirm more strongly this interpretation in the copying case. (complete article)
Dynamic visual discrimination (ie. maintaining your composure in a big spot)
Visual discrimination of ellipses depends on the state of the motor neural networks controlling the dominant hand, but only when their eccentricity is “biologically preferred”. Importantly, this effect emerges on the basis of a static display, suggesting that what we call “biological geometry”, i.e., geometric features resulting from preferential movements is relevant information for the visual processing of bidimensional shapes. (complete article)
Visual Motor Coupling (ie. acknowledging intersubjective viewpoints differ)
It is obvious that the motor apparatus of the visual organ has to fit the sensory apparatus as the shell does an egg. For, whether one assumes that they were set up according to a wise plan, or that they developed with each other and through each other in an inevitable way as the evolutionary series is traversed, in any case: the capabilities of the one have to correspond to the needs of the other. (complete article)
Psychosocial Defragmentation (ie. seeing the forest for the trees)
Unlike the two previous studies on mentalizing in autism, in the present study inferences concerning mental states were based solely on the perception of movement patterns of geometric shapes. Heider and Simmel (1944) demonstrated that viewing animation sequences where simple triangles and dots moved seemingly of their own accord powerfully conveyed the impression of intentional movements and goal directed interactions. Heider and Simmel’s stimuli, and similar animations, which reveal the pervasive tendency to attribute mental states even to simple shapes in motion, have been shown to individuals with autism in several studies ( Abell et al ., 2000; Bowler and Thommen, 2000; Klin, 2000). All these studies found that even those individuals with autism who passed standard ‘false belief’ tests used mental state descriptions less extensively or less appropriately than controls. (complete article)