Hello my name is Levan M I am 3rd year Architecture student. I chose to take Wearable and Soft Interactions this semester and I am working with Elle O—our team name is Lev+Elle. For this project we are working for a little girl who’s named is Sara, she is 12 years old and was born with major disabilities, our main goal is to help her increase her ability to communicate with her parents and caregivers. We are designing a glove for Sara as our first prototype with multiple sensors to learn her voluntary and involuntary movements also her capability and range of pressing on a given surface and control she has in her finger that is trough bend sensor.
Saras disability is called Cerebral Palsy, I was not familiar with this disability after researching and reading about Sara and her illness I have learned quite a lot about Cerebral Palsy and immense challenges it brings to the sufferer so what is Cerebral Palsy? According to cerebralpalsy.org
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time.
People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.
The first part of the process was information gathering: we studied Sara’s disability her background and way she has been developing with the disability. We also wanted to know what intentional and unintentional movements she is capable of making. We also explored existing aids for similar disabilities, from the Grip Mate for those with limited finger grip or partial amputations, to Stephen Hawking’s communication system, which allows the severely incapacitated/locked in astrophysicist to interact with the world outside his body. It was surprising and disapointing to discover the most of the aids we found were way to expensive and had very limited capabilities.
For the first prototype we made 2 versions first one is glove with a writing ball where we drilled holes in to it to place objects such as pencil or iPad stiles and so on.. to enable her to write/draw in real life while learning her movement and what is the best way she can operate an object like a pen independently. for the second glove prototype we tried to create device that will map her abilities for example: if she is able to press on a button and what ranges of force she could apply to the sensor, so we can manage to create sketch that will respond to this variations of force and second sensor is bent sensor which will measure flexibility in her fingers and amount of control she has over them. both sensors are attached to an individual RGB LED light we programmed the lilypad so that specific readings from the sensor would have triggered specific color, which will tell us what level of force she was able to produce. LED light was just a replacement for a screen to read the generated info