As many of us know all too well, injuries to the hand and wrist are fairly common among children. Making matters worse, rehabilitation exercises tend to be just as demotivating as they are monotonous. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a much easier, more efficient and engaging way to help propel young patients to achieve full recovery? This is a problem that a team of German Makers set out to solve.
Their solution? An interactive system that they call Cynteract. It consists of a smart glove, an Oculus Rift headset and some self-developed software, which together create an immersive experience for kids and teens as they perform their rehab activities.
The unique design of the rehabilitation glove enables a wearer to track the positions of each finger individually. Combined with the Bosch BNO055 (Atmel | SMART SAM D20), the Makers were able to precisely reconstruct the movements of the real hand in their virtual environment while providing haptic and visual feedback back to the user. Aside from that, the wearable is equipped with a Bluetooth module for wireless operation, a LiPo battery for power and a microUSB port.
Additionally, the Makers employed an ATmega32U4 MCU to drive the equipment as well as transmit the measurement between the glove and the computer. In terms of software, Cynteract features a multi-player VR game that lets two patients compete against one another. Little do they know that, as they control the game with their hands, they are actually carrying out the once-monotonous rehabilitation movements.
“The demonstration game is similar to Connect Four or Tic-Tac-Toe. When the player closes his hand, thus performing the essential human fist grip, he will automatically grab a disc. By moving his hand, the patient chooses the desired column. The disc falls straight down and occupies the next available space, when he releases his grip. The actions of both users are synchronized over a network,” the team explains.
And we can’t forget to mention that Cynteract was also completed with the help of 3D printing, which allows for perfectly-fitting, personalized gloves with complex designs for each user. Interested? Head over to the project’s page here.
This blog post originally appeared on Atmel Bits & Pieces.