Category: Lower Extremity Disabilities

Balance Training System For Children

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a balance training system for children with disabilities using Wii balance board technology. Students from Rice University linked together five Wii balance boards to a computerized motion tracking system and developed a game based on this system to help children advance their balance skills. The boards are lined up in a row between active handrails that provide feedback on how heavily users depend on their arms. The game requires the user to shoot approaching monsters by hitting particular spots with their feet as they step along the Wii array. The game awards points for success, and it becomes more difficult as the user improves. A further step, not yet implemented, would be to program feedback from the handrails into the game. Leaning on the rails would subtract points from a user's score, encouraging good posture. The game would also present challenges specific to younger and older children to keep them engaged. The system's components include a computer, the Wii boards (aligned in a frame) and two balance beam-like handrails that read how much force patients are putting on their hands. Communication to the PC is via the Wii's native Bluetooth protocol. The prototype system costs less than $2,000, which is a fraction of the cost of similar specialized systems. It can be used with children that have conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or amputations, who can practice tasks including standing still, taking a couple of steps, and turning around without losing balance. TITLE: Students use Wii Balance Boards to Create Balance Training System for Kids. WEBSITE: medGadget. REF:


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