Multidisciplinary - Electrical Engineering & Mechanical Engineering
The main purpose of our project “Healthcare at Play” is to create a device to encourage people with arthritis in their hands to perform exercises. While there are many forms of arthritis and hand conditions, our project’s scope has been narrowed down to osteoarthritis. This device should be able to gather measurable data in the form of flexibility, position, and/or force exertion. In order to make exercising and recovery fun and engaging, this project employs the use of video games. By using video games we will motivate arthritis patients to work out their hands, primarily fingers, without repeating boring exercises. Hand exercises are very important, because our hands are used for activities of daily life and they can be damaged from poor ergonomics, repetitive tasks, and aging.
The devices that we have prototyped are based on a glove design with varying sensors. The different types of sensors we have tested include: force-sensing resistors (FSR), flex sensors, and hall-effect sensors. A combination of flex sensors and linear hall-effect sensors have given us more promising results. The sensors’ data is sent to an Arduino placed within a wearable 3D-printed housing, which is then sent to a computer which displays the game with its accompanying prompts. After a game is complete, the signal data from these sensors can be saved in a format to be sent to our sponsor Tibco’s software called Spotfire for analysis and a visual report. With enough data and repeated usage, Spotfire can help pinpoint any patterns or can be used to suggest areas of improvement that users may need.