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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2010;2010:1751-4. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2010.5626724.

Upper extremity rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy using accelerometer feedback on a multitouch display.

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  • 1Bioelectronics Research Cluster, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.


Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive neurological disorder caused by disturbances to the developing brain. Physical and occupational therapy, if started at a young age, can help minimizing complications such as joint contractures, and can improve limb range of motion and coordination. While current forms of therapy for children with cerebral palsy are effective in minimizing symptoms, many children find them boring or repetitive. We have designed a system for use in upper-extremity rehabilitation sessions, making use of a multitouch display. The system allows children to be engaged in interactive gaming scenarios, while intensively performing desired exercises. It supports games which require completion of specific stretching or coordination exercises using one or both hands, as well as games which use physical, or "tangible" input mechanisms. To encourage correct posture during therapeutic exercises, we use a wireless kinematic sensor, worn on the patient's trunk, as a feedback channel for the games. The system went through several phases of design, incorporating input from observations of therapy and clinical sessions, as well as feedback from medical professionals. This paper describes the hardware platform, presents the design objectives derived from our iterative design phases and meetings with clinical personnel, discusses our current game designs and identifies areas of future work.

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