The 3D-printed sensor bracelet allows people who have cerebral palsy to play video games or use a computer. (Image Credit: University of Sydney)
Engineers at the University of Sydney developed a 3D printed bracelet that could allow people with cerebral palsy and motor neuron disease to use a PC and play video games. The 3D printed sensor bracelet operates by detecting slight finger movements in the wearer's wrist. Afterward, the data is wirelessly transmitted to a computer, which uses machine learning to interpret, classify, and adapt the movement patterns. This is then communicated with the video game. By doing so, users can play video games requiring a handheld controller.
"We use machine learning to interpret an individual's movements, which vary from user to user. Currently, these signals are transmitted to a computer-based program, but we hope to progress this to a free phone app so it can be easily downloadable," says Mr. Stephen Lin, an undergraduate honors student.
Cerebral palsy causes muscle spasticity and affects a person's motor skills. It also affects communication capabilities, with 50% of those diagnosed finding it difficult or unable to communicate. Two-thirds of people diagnosed with the condition are unable to move one or both of their arms very well.
"This invaluable project can have a real impact in assisting children with cerebral palsy to play, learn and express themselves. At Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we're proud to support innovative projects such as this through our grants program, which has committed more than $59 million in funding to leading researchers in 38 countries around the world," said Professor Nadia Badawi.
The team used an affordable 3D printer to develop the bracelet. (Image Credit: University of Sydney)
The team used computational fabrication techniques to design the sensors while the components were printed via an affordable 3D printer. The team created an easy-to-use tool, allowing the wearer to customize the sensor based on their needs. They also plan on releasing the tools for open-source software on the sensor bracelet. This could make it more accessible for disabled people around the world.
"Accessibility shouldn't come at a huge cost. Our mission is to provide an affordable, easy-to-use solution to assist people around the world who are living with a disability. We want this technology to be available to anyone who needs it, which is why we plan to release it publicly without IP," said Lin.
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