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Category: Lower Extremity Disabilities∨g=

Mobile Music Touch

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-- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a vibrating glove device that assists individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) learn to play the piano. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have seen an improvement in sensation and movement in the hands of people with paralyzing SCI after wearing a glove that helps them learn to play piano. The Mobile Music Touch (MMT) is a glove that helps people with SCI learn to play different songs by vibrating the wearer’s fingers to indicate which keys on a piano keyboard to play. The MMT system evolved from the Piano Touch music learning system previously developed at Georgia Tech. The MMT system consists of a device attached to the back of a glove that connects wirelessly to a computer, MP3 player, or smartphone. A song is programmed into the wirelessly connected device and, as the correct keys are illuminated on the piano keyboard, the glove vibrates to indicate which finger should hit the key. This allows the wearer to play along to the song and gradually memorize the keys to hit. The active learning sessions involved individuals who had suffered an SCI more than a year prior to the study and had limited feeling or movement in their hands. Over an eight-week period, the participants practiced playing the piano for 30 minutes, three times a week, with half using the MMT glove to practice and the other half not. Teaching the study participants to play piano was not the primary focus of the study. The participants also wore the glove at home for two hours a day, five days a week, so that they felt the vibrations as they went about their daily routines. Previous studies had shown that wearing the MMT system when not actually playing the piano helped people learn songs faster and retain them better, and the researchers hoped that the passive wearing of the device would also have rehabilitative effects. Researchers found those study participants who used the MMT system performed significantly better when completing a variety of common grasping and sensation tests than those who had just learned the piano normally. The improved motor abilities could be the result of renewed brain activity that can sometimes become dormant in those with SCI, with the vibration possibly triggering activity in the hand’s sensory cortex, leading to firing in the brain’s motor cortex. To investigate this possibility, researchers hope to expand the study in the future to include functional MRI (fMRI) results. AUTHOR: Darren Quick. TITLE: Vibrating musical glove improves sensation and mobility in spinal cord injury patients. WEBSITE: Gizmag. REF: http://www.gizmag.com/mobile-music-touch-glove-sci/23353.

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09/02/2012
Mobile Music Touch
 
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