Art Therapy Easels

The Art Therapy Easels followed on from the Art Therapy tables. Their development was a collaboration with Jesse Hoey at the University of Waterloo.

The easels we developed were fully adjustable, with a high resolution, highly sensitive multi-touch screen based on Frustrated Total Internal Reflection (FTIR). Users could interact with this screen through both direct touch and the use of another medium such as a paintbrush. The hands, fingers, and/or objects were illuminated by infrared light, and a camera sensitive to that light then detected their movement on the surface of the screen. Engagement with art therapy was supported and monitored in a number of ways: the therapist was able to adapt the system for individual users, audio-visual prompts could be given to motivate and guide the user, and a camera was used to track facial movements.

The easels were also aesthetically pleasing, being handcrafted from oak and walnut, and designed to be easily dismantled and transported. The easels play roles in various projects involving gaze detection and unsupervised therapy. Three of these systems have been trialled with clients in Toronto, Canada.

For a full description see the epad project website.