Mobile music touch: using haptic stimulation for passive rehabilitation and learning
Markow, Tanya Thais
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Hand rehabilitation after injury or illness may allow a patient to regain full or at least partial use of a limb. However, rehabilitation often requires the patient to perform multiple repetitions of motions. While absolutely essential to regaining usage, such exercises are not always mentally engaging or enjoyable for the patient. The loss or degradation of the use of the hands can cause considerable loss of independence. In this dissertation, we present Mobile Music Touch (MMT), a wireless glove paired with a computing device, such as a laptop, smart phone, or MP3 player. The MMT system plays a song, while also "tapping" the fingers using vibration motors to indicate the correct finger to use to play the song on a piano keyboard. Learning a new skill or activity without active focus, an idea called Passive Haptic Learning(PHL) may allow an individual to learn one skill through their sense of touch while performing another, unrelated activity. Most rehabilitation activities are active in nature, requiring the focused participation of the injured person. Passive rehabilitation is the idea that some technologies and activities may bring about beneficial changes without the active engagement of the injured person. In order to study the concepts of PHL and PHR, we propose the Mobile Music Touch (MMT) system. We show that using passive rehabilitation in conjunction with the active rehabilitation of piano playing will bring about a greater degree of improvement in the hands than that achieved using only active rehabilitation. This dissertation research makes three unique contributions. First, we demonstrate that Passive Haptic Learning (PHL) using just the sense of touch is feasible and provides a form of learning and reinforcement of learned skills and tasks. Second, we identify the attributes and design features of a glove suited for long term wear by persons who use a manual wheelchair for mobility. Third, we show that Passive Haptic Rehabilitation (PHR) is possible using vibrotactile stimulation of the hands in persons classified as tetraplegic due to incomplete spinal cord injury.