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Phys Ther. 2016 Mar;96(3):390-9. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20140540. Epub 2015 Aug 27.

Playskin Lift: Development and Initial Testing of an Exoskeletal Garment to Assist Upper Extremity Mobility and Function.

Author information

1
M.A. Lobo, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, 210K CHS Bldg, 540 South College Ave, Newark, DE 19713 (USA). malobo@udel.edu.
2
J. Koshy, BS, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware.
3
M.L. Hall, MS, Departments of Physical Therapy and Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware.
4
O. Erol, MS, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware.
5
H. Cao, PhD, Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware.
6
J.M. Buckley, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware.
7
J.C. Galloway, PT, PhD, Departments of Physical Therapy and Psychology, University of Delaware.
8
J. Higginson, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A person's ability to move his or her arms against gravity is important for independent performance of critical activities of daily living and for exploration that facilitates early cognitive, language, social, and perceptual-motor development. Children with a variety of diagnoses have difficulty moving their arms against gravity.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this technical report is to detail the design process and initial testing of a novel exoskeletal garment, the Playskin Lift, that assists and encourages children to lift their arms against gravity.

DESIGN:

This report details the design theory and process, the device, and the results of field testing with a toddler with impaired upper extremity function due to arthrogryposis multiplex congenita.

RESULTS:

The Playskin Lift is an inexpensive (<$30 material costs), easy to use (5/5 rating), comfortable (5/5 rating), and attractive (4/5 rating) device. While wearing the device, the child was able to contact objects more often throughout an increased play space, to look at toys more while contacting them, and to perform more complex interactions with toys.

LIMITATIONS:

This report details initial testing with one child. Future testing with more participants is recommended.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that by considering the broad needs of users, including cost, accessibility, comfort, aesthetics, and function, we can design inexpensive devices that families and clinicians can potentially fabricate in their own communities to improve function, participation, exploration, and learning for children with disabilities.

PMID:
26316534
PMCID:
PMC4774388
DOI:
10.2522/ptj.20140540
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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