Physical therapists struggle to engage children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP) in the repetitive practice required to learn new motor skills. Low-cost technologies may enhance children’s engagement to participate in home-based and remotely-monitored exercise programs. We created an inexpensive motion-controlled robotic game interface that encourages repetitive functional movement of the affected arm and hand.
The game involves a robotic arm with 4 degrees of motion, a 4-wheel platform base, and a playing surface. The user controls the robotic arm with a Leap Motion controller that detects hand and finger movements and a joystick that controls the platform base. Software converts the Leap data into robotic arm movement mimicking functional gestures to transport objects on the game board. The joystick controls movement of the robotic base. Game success and range of motion metrics are recorded for therapists to monitor.
The arduino script for Leap Motion control is complete. All mechanical components of the robot and platform base have been designed and built. Design of the wireless joystick and motor control circuit are also complete. Build and circuit installation are now underway. The Arduino script for controlling the wheels of the base to ensure natural motion and intuitive controls and game design are in progress.
Next steps include a usability evaluation with a small sample of children with hemiplegic CP. We will then evaluate the effect of a home exercise program of game play on children’s functional outcomes related to upper extremity use in activities of daily living.