Quiz 30.5B

Quiz 30.5b: Design and Development of the First Exoskeletal Garment to Enhance Arm Mobility for Children with Movement Impairments

ABSTRACT:  Children with a variety of diagnoses have impairments that limit their arm function. Despite the fact that arm function is important for early learning and activities of daily living, there are few tools to assist movement for these children, and existing devices have challenges related to cost, accessibility, comfort, and aesthetics. In this article, we describe the design process and development of the first garment based exoskeleton to assist arm movement in young children with movement impairments: the Playskin LiftTM. We outline our design process, which contrasts with the traditional medical model in that it is interdisciplinary, user-centered, and addresses the broad needs of users, rather than device function alone. Then we report the results of field-testing with the initial prototype with respect to our design metrics on a toddler with significant bilateral arm movement impairments. Finally, we summarize our ongoing development aimed at increasing comfort, aesthetics, and accessibility of the garment. The interdisciplinary, user-centered approach to assistive technology design presented here can result in innovative and impactful design solutions that translate to the real world.

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