Using Roamer with Children with Cerebral Palsy

  • Published May 1, 2009
  • By Charlotte Safos

Roamer Integrates with Other Technology

In this article, Charlotte Safos of AnthroTronix explains the innovations they’re developing using Roamer with their own technology to reach children with specific difficulties.

AnthroTronix is a research anddevelopment company in Silver Spring, MD. We specialize in advanced computer human interaction for a variety of industries. We currently have a project hat focuses on empowering children with disabilities in physical therapy. The project merges physical therapy exercises within the context of educational and fun activities.

AnthroTronix has developed technology that is centered around CosmoBot, a child-friendly robot controlled by various interfaces adapted to individual needs, regardless of physical limitations. The child controls the robot via gestures. Gestures may include reaching for a button, operating a joystick, or activating wearable sensors through body movement.

We met Dave Catlin from Valiant Technology at a conference and quickly realized the many synergies between our companies. We will use Roamer as a base for our CosmoBot to enhance our work to date. We have created a shell that will be placed on the Roamer Too, much like the disguises that Valiant offers. Our objectives for this project are to develop robot based content to target upper extremity movement therapy goals and evaluate the clinical efficacy of the CosmoBot Robotics System as a therapy intervention for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, brain injury, and stroke.

Cerebral palsy is the most prevalent and one of the three most common physical impairment for children of ages 17 and under, with a prevalence of 2.6% and an incidence of 43/100,000 children per year. The incidence of brain injury among school aged children has been estimated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as 90 per 100,000 resulting in the addition of 60,000 children with new brain injuries annually. The incidence of stroke in neonatal children (<1 months of age) has been estimated by the CDC as 1:4000 and for children from 2 months to 18 years as 14.5:100,000. The CosmoBot system allows the child to interact with her environment, giving the child a sense of control. In addition, the robot imitates movements, providing feedback and motivation for learning. The proposed project is to develop specific robot-based activities to maximize the CosmoBot system’s effectiveness in targeting therapy goals and motivating children with neurological impairments.

The CosmoBot system allows the child to interact with her environment, giving the child a sense of control. In addition, the robot imitates movements, providing feedback and motivation for learning.

http://go.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/cosmo-1.png

The proposed project is to develop specific robot-based activities to maximize the CosmoBot system’s effectiveness in targeting therapy goals and motivating children with neurological impairments. Specific Aim 1 is to design and develop the robot-based activities in software, targeting therapy goals for children with neurological impairments, and integrating the software into the system’s already-existing software architecture. We will adapt activities currently developed for Roamer as well as create new activities.

A demonstration of CosmoBot (which incorporates Roamer) controlled by hand movements.

Specific Aim 2 is to evaluate CosmoBot’s effectiveness as an intervention tool and assessing functional outcomes.  Specific Aim 2 will be carried out with 20 subjects, ages 3-10, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, brain injury, or stroke and receiving outpatient therapy. We are currently working with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as our clinical partner. A blinded, double cross-over experimental design will be used. Interventions will be developed utilizing the CosmoBot system for a specific therapeutic goal for each child and will be compared directly to conventional therapy for the same therapeutic goal. The metrics for success are whether the CosmoBot system is just as, or more, effective, in targeting identified therapy goals and in engaging young children, and whether the system is easy for therapists to use and is accepted by children and parents as a positive component for therapy.

CosmoBot Incorporating Roamer at the Mayo Clinic

CosmoBot is built on top of Roamer to provide a robot useful to special needs education.

Exhibition Marking the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

James Drane of AnthTronix showcases CosmoBot.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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