Good Vibrations: A Musical Glove That Improves Motor Skills
By Jacob Siegal
Music can affect the way we feel–this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the Mobile Music Touch (MMT) device created by a group of Georgia Tech researchers both surprises and delights.
MMT takes the form of a glove with a small box attached to the top of it. It wirelessly connects to computers, MP3 players, and smartphones, which program a song into the device. Once programmed, the keys light up on a piano along with the chosen song, and a small vibration is sent to the fingers that correspond with the highlighted keys.
Although learning to play the piano may certainly be a happy side effect, the primary goal of this gadget is to “improve sensation and motor skills for people with paralyzing spinal cord injury (SCI),” according to its creators.
Every participant in the study practiced playing the piano for thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Half of them used the glove, the other half did not. The group that did use the glove also wore it at home for two additional hours, sitting passively and allowing the glove to continue vibrating.
By the end of the study, both groups were asked to perform common tasks making use of their hands, and those that had worn the MMT performed significantly better. Amazingly, the individuals who participated in the study had suffered their injuries more than a year earlier, which, according to the Georgia Tech researchers is “a time frame when most rehab patients see very little improvement for the remainder of their lives.”
Just another gadget that proves it’s never too late for technology to totally save the day. Take that, Skynet.
Jacob Siegal spends a vast majority of his time surrounded with and invested in technology and media, so he decided he may as well start writing about it. You can find more of his writing at Game Rant and his topical tweets @JacobSiegal.