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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Debra Tolu Babalola

Debra Babalola is a London-based designer with experience in interaction design. Prior to joining the Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc) programme, she obtained a BSc in Product Design from the University of Leeds. With a keen interest in designing for healthcare, her work focuses on developing viable solutions to challenges within this space.

Debra recently co-founded Dotplot, a med-tech company aiming to facilitate the early detection of breast cancer. She also worked at the German Aerospace Centre to develop an interaction for upper-limb prosthetics that helps users train their prosthesis. Her ambition is to implement solutions that make people’s lives easier to live and that have long-lasting benefits for society at large.

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

Debra Tolu Babalola-statement

AnatomyDecoded is a physiotherapy tool that educates patients about the inner workings of their bodies. It combines projection mapping and augmented reality to provide patients with comprehensible medical information during physiotherapy consultations. Contrary to existing visual tools such as anatomical models and web-based images, AnatomyDecoded allows physiotherapists to use the patient’s body as their reference. This brings explanations to a more personal level. Ultimately, AnatomyDecoded contributes to creating a society of people who are well informed about their physical health and wellbeing, regardless of health literacy levels.

The problem, media item 1

In the UK, almost a third of the population suffers from a musculoskeletal condition. Physiotherapy, therefore, is an essential practice but sadly a significant proportion of patients leave their consultations with a poor understanding of their condition, injury and/or respective exercise regime. This hinders adherence to prescribed exercises. Considering that “61 per cent of the working age population in England finds it difficult to understand health and wellbeing information” (NHS England, 2015), I questioned how physiotherapy tools could be developed that enhance the communication of medical information.

The Opportunity, media item 1

My research highlighted that the two key moments where patient education could be improved were when physiotherapists explained the condition or injury and when prescribing the subsequent exercises. In the latter moment, patients often struggled to understand the relevance of some of the exercises they had been given.

The Solution (Part I), media item 1

I created an app in which physiotherapists could access a projection panel to display medical information onto the body. It allowed them to explain conditions and injuries relative to patients’ bodies, hence enhancing understanding. Projection also offered a low-cost way for physiotherapist to easily show a wide range of visuals specific to each patient’s needs.

The Solution (Part II), media item 1

Augmented reality was also used within the app to demonstrate to patients how their exercises related to their condition/injury. This was done by tracking their motion in real time and overlaying it with an anatomical depiction of the muscles involved in the movement. This helped patients to visualise the link between the exercises and the area where they were experiencing pain.

Creators of some icons/diagrams used:

Holger Ziemann

Gan Khoon Lay


Olena Panasovska

Royal United Hospitals Bath