Families of children with disabilities, specifically neurological disabilities, are faced with challenges in receiving proper long-term care. Although successful treatment options exist, many cases of neurological disabilities go untreated, leaving a child with limited abilities for life. Treatment is both long-term and costly. Many families may not live near adequate health delivery services. And with the rising healthcare costs, the financial burden for such services may be impossible to incur.
Home-based and cost effective therapy options are being made possible by advancements in virtual reality (VR). Because children have a heightened emotional state and can reach fatigue faster, it can be difficult for them to stay motivated with conventional therapies. But VR systems can create a fun and encouraging environment. Research is showing that such systems have better intervention effects than clinical-based interventions. They also do not limit care-giving families on location and financial burden.
Interacting with the VR world is an important aspect of these systems. Hand gesture control, is one type of interaction method that is proving to have practical application in these home-based therapy prototypes. With this type of interaction, a system can read hand gestures through electromyography with no physical contact. I created a prototype where hand gestures are interpreted by the gaming system to provide feedback in the VR world. This prototype uses the Myo Arm Band (by Thalmic Labs), Unity, and XCode.
VR, Human Computer Interaction