Case Study

UBC Human Vision and Eye Movement Lab

Building a prosopagnosia testing and rehabilitation system.

What is it?

Prosopagnosia, also known as "face blindness" is a cognitive disorder where the ability to recognize faces is impaired—including faces that should be familiar to people such as loved ones and close friends. For instance, after suffering a stroke or head injury, a person may be unable to recognize their spouse.

What was needed

Researchers at the lab needed to create a tool to study patients' inability to recognize faces and develop ways to retrain face recognition skills. Because this hadn't been done before, researchers needed to easily reconfigure and add to the experiments as the research progressed. It was also very important to maximize the number of participants that could be easily reached.

Working together

I sat down with the researchers and learned exactly how they wanted the experiments to work, what they wanted to configure, what kind of parameters they wanted to measure, and what reports they wanted to generate. With this understanding, I wrote up a detailed contract describing the features and functions of the final application, mutually agreed upon the fixed quote, and set to work.

The solution

I built a web application with a point-and-click interface for the researchers to upload their photos of faces and use these to create complex, multi-level "games" of faces in various spatial arrangements. Participants were challenged to select matching faces using the keyboard or mouse and the program would adapt to their strengths and weakness to better promote rehabilitation. The accuracy, response time, difficulty level, etc. were all recorded and compiled into reports for the researchers to view and download. The site was built for all modern browsers and provided a convenient, user-friendly platform for both researchers and participants around the world.

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