Yaqi Xie Cohort Four participant

Yaqi Xie

The Royal College of Art

Yaqi Xie

Topographies of Pain

Topographies of Pain technology provide an innovative system that will form a new way of patient-doctor interaction. It focuses on the tactile communication of pain and on active attempts by the person in pain to reliably communicate their experience in terms of physical manipulation of a haptic device

Pain assessment is a common clinical task, usually using multi-dimensional charts. The charts are divided into different standardised scales which rely on the patient’s ability to understand and recognise the terminology. This may be the only measure of pain used in the clinical setting.

The pain experience is oversimplified by the standardized ratings of pain, and research demonstrates that over and under estimation of pain, a degree of difficulty in articulating pain exists. However, communicating pain is overwhelming for the following reasons: the language of pain is inherently complex, it is subjective and composed of thoughts, feelings and sensations. If patients are unable to state their concerns, providers may struggle to effectively diagnose, treat, and manage their disease states. There are also many populations who are unable to report pain verbally: those who are pre-verbal, or non-verbal due to developmental disorder, neurological illness, or accident.

Considering the multidimensional nature and individual variability of pain, relying on the traditional standardised assessment chart can sometimes be inaccurate, and can lead to suboptimal pain management. A new method to replace the current system is needed.

Perceptions like pain, the incapacity or difficulty to tell others about one’s experience might significantly influence their perceptions and tolerance. Topographies of Pain technology provides people with a new method in which they can demonstrate the abstract, invisible symptoms more easily through a tangible embodiment in the expression of pain in a creative, 3-dimensional way. Studies have shown that invisible symptoms can be reflected by the interaction and connection between sensory organs and environmental stimuli. Multi-Sensory communication can help to express invisible sensory sensations. Topographies of Pain technology combined of tactile sensation and visual stimuli offer more space and feasibility, compared with traditional verbal or textual communication, especially when the verbal scale is abstract and in some cases powerless.

Diagnostics Accelerator Programme: market access planning and evidence generation

Delivered in partnership with the National Institute of Health Research London In Vitro Diagnostics unit this six-week evidence generation focused programme will support medtech innovators to de-risk the path to successful deployment through the development of a business case validating their clinical, financial and social claims. This way, when innovators approach the health system, they are comfortable in the knowledge that the product achieves what it is designed to do.

Applications Open (closing 7 March 2021)