Virtual reality active videogames (AVGs) are popular physical therapy interventions for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy because they motivate children to engage in repetitive arm movements. However, adherence to homebased AVG exercise programs is low and therapists require a way of monitoring children’s game play to adjust game difficulty and provide motivating feedback.
The team developed the Wireless Home Activity Monitor, or WHAM for short. The device uses an Arduino microcontroller, a 3-axis accelerometer, and an optical heart rate monitor to measure and report heart rate and movement data. An iOS app calibrates the sensors, detects movement, and cues the player to record game information and respond to survey questions. The measurements are sent to an online database that has a web interface to display the data in readable form for therapists, who use the information to make decisions about exercise progression. The data is also used to give users positive reinforcement during game play.
The current prototype won the RISE 2016 award for innovation in undergraduate engineering and technology. The team is iterating on their work to improve the prototype.