University of Sydney researchers create sensor bracelets for people with hand disabilities
Researchers from the University of Sydney’s School of Computer Science have developed a 3D-printed sensor bracelet to enable people with hand disabilities to use computers and play video games.
The team received funding from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Neurological Disability Foundation to investigate how this technology could be used to help people with cerebral palsy.
HOW IT WORKS
According to a media release, the bracelet works by picking up on subtle movements on the user’s wrist as they move their fingers. From the sensors, these movements are transmitted via Bluetooth to a computer program, which then interprets, classifies and corrects them using machine learning.
The interpreted information can be communicated with a game, a computer interface, or a smart device.
WHY IT IMPORTANT
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. About 50% of people living with this condition find it difficult or impossible to speak while two-thirds have difficulty moving one or both arms.
Since this condition is the most common physical disability in children worldwide, it is important that advances in technology, including assistive technology, be “accessible, customizable and as widely as possible,” said Nadia Badawi, head of cerebral palsy at Cerebral. Research on polio.
Stephen Lin, a university honors student who led the research team, said they plan to release the technology behind the sensor bracelet as open source software.
“Accessibility shouldn’t come with a big cost,” he said. “Our mission is to provide an affordable, easy-to-use solution to support people around the world living with a disability. We want this technology to be available to anyone who needs it. , that’s why we plan to go public without IP”.
The researchers also want their computer program to be translated into a free mobile app version.
“This invaluable project can have a real impact in helping children with cerebral palsy have fun, learn and express themselves,” added Badawi.
TREND TO BIGGER
Several startups have hit the market with their brain-computer interface solutions to give control back to people who have lost mobility. Last year, based in New York Synchron began testing a nerve-producing device called the Stentrode, which allows polio patients to control digital devices with their thoughts.
Another startup, NexStem, recently announced the global launch of its BCI headset and software. It is currently exploring use cases for its products in the areas of mental health, virtual reality, and everyday applications.