Scientists have developed an innovative robotic arm that can help children practice and improve their hand coordination.
Researchers from the University of Leeds, Bradford Institute of Health Research and University of Indiana (US) have been working on creating a haptic robotic training system that gives children feedback and gibbet their performance as they practice hand and wrist movements commonly made during handwriting and other manual tasks.
The device can be extremely beneficial for kids who have underlying movement problems. It can aid them by providing with the extra support they need whilst trying to learn everyday tasks they typically have great difficulty with (eg handwriting, using cutlery and dressing themselves).
The researchers carried the trial of this innovative new technology for the first time in a UK school.
How it works?
The robotic arm gives a friendly support to the child while learning hand movements. A child holds a pen connected to the cradle of a small robotic arm. They then move the pen around in order to play ‘computer games’ presented on the screen of the computer.
The strength to which the arm pushes/pulls towards the correct movement can be varied so that as the child becomes more confident the robotic arm can reduce its level of support, hence, allowing the child to do the task on their own.
As the child plays the games the robot’s arm (purple arrow) helps them learn the correct movements by pushing and pulling the pen in the direction required to make the right moves.