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IEEE Int Conf Rehabil Robot. 2011;2011:5975355. doi: 10.1109/ICORR.2011.5975355.

Design of a novel mobility device controlled by the feet motion of a standing child.

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  • 1University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


Self-generated mobility is a major contributor to the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development of infants and toddlers. When young children have disorders that hinder self locomotion, their development is at risk for delay. Independent mobility via traditional power mobility devices may prevent this delay, but do little to encourage the child's development of gross motor skills. This research aims to develop a bio-driven mobile-assistive device that is controlled and driven by moving the feet, which may encourage the development of gross motor skills. In this study, system feasibility is shown by experiments on five typically developing toddlers and one special needs toddler with spastic cerebral palsy. Children were placed in the bio-driven device and instructed to navigate through a maze. All subjects were able to successfully complete the maze in multiple trials. Additionally, two toddlers showed evidence of improved driving skill by completing the maze in shorter times in successive trials on a given testing day. The results suggest that such a device is feasible for purposeful driving. Recommendations are given for the device and protocol redesign for related future testing.

© 2011 IEEE

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