Georgia Tech researchers have created a wireless, musical glove that may improve sensation and motor skills for people with paralyzing spinal cord injury (SCI).
The gadget was successfully used by individuals with limited feeling or movement in their hands due to tetraplegia. These individuals had sustained their injury more than a year before the study, a time frame when most rehab patients see very little improvement for the remainder of their lives. Remarkably, the device was primarily used while the participants were going about their daily routines.
The device is called Mobile Music Touch (MMT). The glove, which looks like a workout glove with a small box on the back, is used with a piano keyboard and vibrates a person's fingers to indicate which keys to play. While learning to play the instrument, several people with SCI experienced improved sensation in their fingers.
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Atlanta's Shepherd Center recently completed a study focusing on people with weakness and sensory loss due to SCI.
"After our preliminary work in 2011, we suspected that the glove would have positive results for people with SCI," said Ph.D. graduate Tanya Markow, the project's leader. "But we were surprised by how much improvement they made in our study. For example, after using the glove, some participants were able to feel the texture of their bed sheets and clothes for the first time since their injury."
Markow worked with individuals with SCI who had limited feeling or movement in their hands. Each suffered a spinal injury more than a year prior to the study. The eight-week project required study participants to practice playing the piano for 30 minutes, three times a week. Half used the MMT glove to practice; half did not.
The MMT system works with a computer, MP3 player or smart phone. A song, such as Ode to Joy, is programmed into a device, wh
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Georgia Institute of Technology