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Gestural Interfaces and Robotics for Rehabilitation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43HD042353-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: HD042353
Amount: $99,988.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2003
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (301) 405-0156
Business Contact
Phone: (301) 405-0156
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project examines the feasibility of using gestural interfaces technology and interactive robotics to facilitate motor development and functional mobility of children with cerebral palsy. Physical impairments such as cerebral palsy can significantly impact a child's development of normal motor patterns. Cerebral palsy is one of the three most common physical impairments for children of ages 17 and under, with approximately 2 out of 1000 cases per live births in the U.S. Developed by AnthroTronix, Inc., an engineering, consulting, and product development company in College Park, MD., the technology uses a child friendly robot, named "CosmoBotTM', controlled by various interfaces adapted to individual needs, regardless of physical limitations. The child controls the robot via gestures and voice activation. Gestures may include reaching for a button, operating a joystick, or activating wearable sensors through body movement. The child can play and record sound and movement commands and can interact with the robot in the context of programmed games. The robot allows the child to interact with his or her environment, giving the child a sense of control. In addition, the robot imitates movements and speech, providing feedback and motivation for learning.

The proposed project is designed to evaluate gestural interface technology and interactive robotics with children of ages 3-10, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, who receive outpatient therapy at the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Maryland. Objectives are (a) to select appropriate gestural interface sensors for children with cerebral palsy to interact with the robot while meeting their therapeutic goals for upper body range of motion, strength, and improving functional abilities; and (b) to evaluate the feasibility of CosmoBotTM during therapy in terms of its usability, effectiveness, and appeal to the child. Phase I will test the technical feasibility of using CosmoBotTM to contribute to the physical or occupational therapy intervention, as evaluated by (1) acceptance by the therapist, parent, and child, and (2) child-robot interactions which facilitate upper limb movements. Actual use as an intervention and functional outcome assessment will be tested in Phase II research.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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