Feel the beat is a medical device designed for children with Cerebral Palsy. It utilizes simple pneumatic air pump technology and music synchronization, transforming them into an interactive and toy-like wearable elbow device. With the adjustable angles of use, this device pulsates in tune with the music, guiding the children the correct pattern of motions. After practicing with Feel the Beat, it helps to improve the children’s range of motions, which is important for their daily activities. This device teaches the children the correct pattern of motion in a humane manner without forcing them to move like a robotic arm. Instead, the children play along with the pulsing and expanding airbags, moves their arm slowly with the music and learn the motion through a fun and comfortable manner.
Physiotherapy can be quite challenging for adults and it is even harder for these special children. No doubt they are more resilient than adults, but getting them to do their daily motions needs a zing of innovation. As a musician/designer, I strongly believe that “music has its healing power and everyone has a strong relationship with music.” During the observation sessions in the Cerebral Palsy centre Singapore, several problems were found and these were valuable design factors, which are beneficial for this design. The children were taught different skills from the playing of musical instruments. Such skills were important for their activities such as combing of hair, brushing and even feeding. Such activities are simple to us but not for these special children. Hence, I decided to use music as the main guiding factor to teach these children the correct pattern of motion.
These children rarely have a chance to practice what has been taught in class at home. It will be nice to provide them with a “friend” that guides them at home, just like the way the caregiver does it in school. Testing with the air pump technology were conducted with a case study from the school and she has provided feedback that she likes the feeling of the expanding airbags. Technological development was also made to redesign the airbag to make it work more efficiently. Specialists from the school has provided feedbacks for this design and improvements were made to allow this device to work more efficiently and safer for the children. Sustainability was also taken into consideration during the process. The design is equipped with only the bare minimum but relevant parts to avoid wastage during production and use. The fabric area could be removed and wash for easy maintenance. Rechargable lithium ion battery is used to improve the efficiency of the device.