People with hand impairments, such as nerve damage, cerebral palsy and motor neuron disease, often find it difficult to accomplish even the simplest tasks due to termers and other inabilities. Being able to control characters in video games, interact with mobile apps, and navigate websites can seem like superhuman feats for anyone who doesn’t have complete control of their hands. Engineers from the University of Sydney have developed a 3D-printed bracelet to help those afflicted with hand impairments regain virtual control of their movements.
The bracelet functions by using sensors that pick up tiny movements in the user’s wrist when they move their fingers. These movements are beamed wirelessly to a computer and are then interpreted, classified and adapted using machine learning. The interpreted information can then be used to play video games, control computer interfaces or communicate using smart devices.
“We know that assistive technology holds the key to a brighter future for many children with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities, with the potential to transform communication, mobility and participation in society,” states Professor Nadia Badawi, CP Alliance Chair of Cerebral Palsy Research at the University of Sydney. “Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood globally, meaning it is vital that these tech advancements are accessible, customizable and as widely available as possible.”
While the bracelet currently requires a connection to a PC to function, the team is looking to develop a mobile app for use on the go.