by Christy Wells, Edgar Rodríguez Ramírez, Mailin Lemke, Benjamin Parkinson
Magnetic resonance imaging is the gold standard in medical practice for tissue imaging. However, current devices are expensive and require users to be in a supine position during the scanning procedure, with users often reporting claustrophobia and anxiety. This study reports on the design of a patient handling system for a new kind of head-only MRI scanner, which allows users to be seated. This poses a unique challenge in seat design: the design should allow the user to be still to attain accurate MRI scans. We investigate the aesthetics of interaction in this complex dynamic system to yield a comfortable user experience. We followed a human-centred design process comprising two main design phases. An experimental setup was used to evaluate possible upright positions of the user. A refined functional prototype was consequently built and tested with healthy participants. Our results indicate that the position required to sit in a lounge chair is most comfortable and allows subjects to remain still for an extended time period. Our chair prototype provided sufficient support during the 20 minute procedure but needs further refinement to improve the user experience and usability of the system.