Team 5 – MYO… Rock Band Rehab

Team 5 photograph

The Need:

Many people who live with a chronic health condition suffer from reduced capacity for movement, and as such there are many daily tasks that are difficult to perform unassisted. Rehabilitation can also be impaired, and without one to one therapy support then getting back to original capacity can be a tall order. As is often the case, therapy support is limited, and as such thechnology can be used to augment the physical contact that a client may have with a therapist.

Apart from rehabilitation and other medical / health contexts, controlling aspects of daily life can be challenging for those with reduced movement. Technology can be used to mediate for us, and allow us to work around difficulties or even obviate them.

The teams 4, 5 and 6 all used a brand new piece of technology from Thalmic Labs called MYO – a gesture control tool for interpreting the movements of a person’s arm; sensitive enough to recognize individual gestures of the hand. Interpreting these gestures and translating them into commands for software allows for potentially revolutionary approaches for assistive technology.

MYO Gesture control armband


The resources for teams 4, 5, & 6 centred around the MYO armband. Each team had a development kit, and software engineers were part of the team structure. This meant that prototypes of the concepts could happen quickly. The teams also had access to the ‘more conventional’ design tools available to the other tools.

Team 5 participatory process

Team 5 participatory process 2

The Process:

Team 5 decided to split their focus and develop 2 products with the MYO armband technology.

The first product created by team 5 used the MYO band to consider the rehabilitative potential of the technology, and how people might be encouraged to perform exercises, rather than taking a negative approach to motivation. As such, a virtual drum kit was produced, and by a person moving their arm, the drum kit could be played in time to a piece of music. The clinicians in the team helped to ensure that the movements were of genuine clinical benefit.

The second product developed by Team 5 sought to help a wheelchair bound person self manage their condition by reminding them of small exercises to perform daily, helping them to avoid painful pressure sores or discomfort.

Rock band rehab

The Output:

Team 5 created a virtual environment for a person to be able to perform movements that had a meaningful impact on their rehabilitation from a chronic condition affecting their motor skills.

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