Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-07102017-115054

Type of thesis
Socially-Oriented Technology Framework for Rehabilitation of Children during Developmental Ages
Scientific disciplinary sector
INGEGNERIA - Ph.D. Programme in Emerging Digital Technologies (EDT)
relatore Prof. FRISOLI, ANTONIO
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Framework
  • ICT Technology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Serious Games
  • Social Innovation
Exam session start date
The past decade has seen the emergence of rehabilitation treatments using virtual reality environments. One of the advantages in using this technology is the potential to create positive motivation, by means of engaging environments and tasks shaped in the form of serious games. However translation into clinical practice is poor and uptake is dependent on a complex relationship between all stakeholders. Strength of evidence for clinical effectiveness and usability has been cited as an important factor influencing translation of rehabilitation research into clinical practice. <br>In this work, we propose an innovative technological framework that would embrace all the aspect concerning the rehabilitation process: from education to diagnosis to therapy. Under the proposed &#34;Socially-Oriented Technology&#34; framework, we pursued the following objectives: to assess the potential abilities of a co-creative approach in promoting healthy body consciousness in both typically developing and autistic children in order to prevent injuries; to investigate the role of cutting-edge technologies, like virtual reality and haptic interfaces, to improve rehabilitation process in children with developmental disorders.<br>An innovative model for school-based postural education project (PoSE) to promote healthy behaviors among middle school students and their families and to moderate postural diseases was investigated, consisting in interactive lessons on back posture and good principles both in class and at home. A participatory approach was used to evaluate attempts to involve all who have a stake in outcomes in order to take action and effect change. The strength of the participatory approach used in this study lies in the contribution to empowerment social change. Preliminary experimental sessions have been conducted with children with autistic disorders in order to arise their body consciousness. <br>Finally, a novel Neuro Motor Rehabilitation System for children with neuro motor impairments (both Cerebral Palsy, CP, and Developmental Dyspraxia, DD), that is based on serious games in immersive virtual reality with haptic feedback, has been introduced. The system design is intended to enhance involvement and engagement of patients, to provide congruent multi-sensory afferent feedback during motor exercises, and to benefit from the flexibility of virtual reality in adapting exercises to the patient&#39;s needs. The system takes advantage of immersive virtual reality systems and robotic haptic devices to enhance involvement and engagement of patients, to provide a congruent multi-sensory afferent feedback during motor exercises, and to benefit from the flexibility of virtual scenarios for adapting the motor exercises to the needs of the patient. An experimental rehabilitation session conducted with CP/DD children has been performed to evaluate usability of the system and feasibility of a prolonged clinical protocol with the proposed approach. In order to better understand results in terms of gaming usability and performance of the proposed motor task, we compared CP/DD performance with both TD and the AD control group. The obtained results show the system was compliant with different levels of motor skills and allowed patients to complete the experimental rehabilitation session. In addition, the proposed exercises and the difficulty of the serious games showed to be sensitive to the different levels of motor functions: overall, CP group obtained lower performance than the TD and AD group, according to the differently developed motor abilities of the three groups. Furthermore, the use of a VR system in the presented system allowed for an immediate measurement and recording of patient&#39;s upper limb movements. These kinematic measurements were used to design a set of metrics and motor tasks, based on the exercises proposed in the serious games, to be introduced as an outcome of the patients&#39; motor functions. The developed kinematic assessment was then experimentally applied on two groups of eight TD children and eight CP/DD children. Results showed that the adopted metrics were in line with the difference in motor functions expected between the TD group and the CP/DD group. A Randomized Controlled Single-Blind Crossover Clinical Trial has been proposed to investigate the usability and effectiveness of serious games and wearable haptic interfaces for neuro motor rehabilitation of children with neuro motor disorders.