Design Project



External supervisor / Sponsor: CanAssist; contact: Leo Spalteholz - (Oct. 2014)

CA1 Limb Position Alert Proposal

Goal: to alert individuals with hemispatial neglect that one of their limbs has fallen off a support such as a lap tray, arm support, or foot rest. Also to train individuals on a compensatory self-check strategy to eventually replace the device's prompts.

Barrier: Hemispatial neglect causes individuals not to attend to one side of their body or one side of their visual field. They may not notice a limb has changed position, or may not see the limb as part of their own body. Individuals rely on external prompts to attend to their limb, which consumes staff time and cannot always be given promptly. Unsupported limbs can lead to injury or impede other tasks (feet on floor impeding wheelchair motion).

Description: The alert device would consist of one or two sensors to measure the position of the limb relative to the correct location (for example, an arm rest, lap tray, or foot rest).

The device would attach to an arm or leg, and monitor its proximity to the correct position. If the limb is outside of the allowed position for a set period of time (at least several seconds), a verbal alert would sound to prompt the user to check the position of their limb and place it back on the support.

Key requirements for the device are:

  1. Able to monitor the position of either an arm or a foot.
  2. Verbal or audio (beep) alerts.
  3. Easy and fast to set up and attach/detach to an individual
  4. Small and unobtrusive sensors with minimum maintenance (battery charging, etc).

Additional features that may be incorporated depending on project budget:

  1. Haptic feedback (vibration) to increase chance that user would attend to the prompt.
  2. Personalized prompts (recorded) to increase chance that user would attend to the prompt.
  3. Ability to monitor both an arm and a leg simultaneously.