Children born with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy can have many complications that will need the intervention of physical and occupational therapy. As a result, there is a new robotic device on the market today called the Isolated Orthosis for Thumb Actuation. This device helps children with their muscle movements through the use of small motors placed over the joints of the upper extremity. These motors give children the sensory and visual cues that they need in order to use their hand more effectively. The Isolated Orthosis for Thumb Actuation is created for children between the ages of six to sixteen. This new robotic device is small enough for the palm to be left open which helps the child effectively grasp objects. In the near future the developers will be working on building one for younger children.
The thought about the Isolated Orthosis for Thumb Actuation came about due to a conversation between a developer and two orthopedic surgeons. It is very rare that you see robotic devices for the hand, especially those that can be used by children. Intervention for muscle coordination works best when it is introduced in early childhood, but the fact of the matter is that most robotic devices are designed for adults to utilize. Because of this, it makes it difficult for a child who has just suffered brain damage to learn necessary motor skills. Some of these devices are too big for children and can actually impede their developmental skills.
The main developmental problem with children who have spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy is that they have trouble moving his or her thumb. This is due to spasticity and can result in the child developing a thumb- in- palm deformity. The main goal that the developers wanted to accomplish with the Isolated Orthosis for Thumb Actuation was to help the child use his or her thumb to grasp objects.
The Isolated Orthosis for Thumb Actuation is very unique and different due to the fact that it is made to fit over the hand and has actuators that fit over the joints of the thumb and wrist. There are sensors that are on the device that recognizes any movements that the child is trying to make with his or her thumb and wrist. Then, it will deliver the information to a computer located in a portable control box. The main function for this information is to allow the child to fully complete the action that they are attempting to do.