Picture of Occupational Therapy Dexterity/Cognitive Aid

The Need:  Occupational Therapy Device

Occupational therapy is used in treating Traumatic Brain Injury during many phases of recovery and rehabilitation. As the patient's condition improves, occupational therapy helps them regain skills ranging from basic self-care, to complex cognitive skills such as memory and problem solving.


Occupational therapy can be helpful for individuals of all ages. 

Source:  http://www.head-trauma-resource.com/occupational-therapy.htm

 According to numerous studies, many physical therapies incorporate repetition of movement in a patient with neurological delay/damage (head trauma, stroke, nerve damage, etc.) This can stimulate the brain to make new neural connections that will circumvent the damaged part of the brain.

This Instructable documents the design/construction of a table-top Occupational Therapy Device that requires patients to use cognitive/spatial reasoning skills together with the use of the hands/fingers in a repetitive, engaging session.

 The exercise encourages dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and left/right brain interaction.

Things that you and I take for granted require a great deal of effort for someone with a head/spine injury!

The Concept:

The user wears a glove on each hand that has red, blue, and green LED lights on each finger tip.  The gloves are wired to the lap-table which has light-up buttons with the same three colors.  As the exercise is started, a LED on one of the fingertips and a matching color button on the table will illuminate.  The goal is to use that finger to touch the lit button, which turns it out.  As each light is turned out, another combo is illuminated at random.  The exercise can be counted/timed to track progress.

The exercise uses hands, fingers, and cognitive skills to equate the correct color and corresponding muscle reflex.

Hand-eye coordination is the ability of the vision system to coordinate the information received through the eyes to control, guide, and direct the hands in the accomplishment of a given task, such as writing or catching a ball (in this case, identifying matching color sets and directing the correct muscles to actuate)

Reclaiming fine motor skills in an affected hand, after a paralytic stroke, requires determination, repetition, and innovative physical therapy.

The Occupational Therapy Device was constructed using mostly off-the-shelf items!  Let's get started!

HattMarper4 months ago

Can you please post the Arduino program? Thank you!!!

sin19855 months ago

Is this board suitable? http://www.ebay.com/itm/SainSmart-UNO-R3-Board-ATmega328P-ATmega16U2-Free-USB-Cable-For-Arduino-/300948763268?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4611f1b284#shpCntId

sassaf1 year ago
could you please post the arduino program
Sandstorm123 years ago
This is Truly awesome. Could it be possible to add audio or rhythm to it like soothing music or some type of musical or sound/vibrational therapy options?
What an awesome idea :)
pearldadi14 years ago
great job!
Nicely done! I suggest you add to the video what happens when a user presses the wrong button, or uses the wrong finger (unless it is already there and I missed it).
jamiep (author)  dlginstructables4 years ago
Also, the final version will have both gloves working at the same time! ;)
jamiep (author)  dlginstructables4 years ago
Thanks! When a user presses the wrong button, a little buzzer gives a short beep and the finger goes red, then it displays the next random pairing. We are still adding features, like scoring, timing, right/wrong, and user history so you can see your results over a length of time.

I will see if I can get some video of some of that up soon.