Improving fine motor function after brain injury using gesture recognition biofeedback

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2012 Nov;7(6):464-8. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2011.650782. Epub 2012 Jan 28.


Purpose: We developed a gesture recognition biofeedback (GRB) device for improving fine motor function in persons with brain injury using surface muscle pressures of the forearm to provide real-time visual biofeedback. The GRB apparatus is easy to don by moderately impaired users and does not require precise placement of sensors.

Method: The efficacy of GRB training with each subject was assessed by comparing its effectiveness against standard repetitive training without feedback. The outcome was measured using a nine-hole peg test (HPT) administered before and after each condition, in a cross-over study design.

Results: GRB was shown to be effective for short-term improvement of fine motor function of 12 impaired participants, reducing their average time to completion of the HPT by 15.5% (S.D. 7.14%). In a subset of impaired subjects, this effect was significant in comparison to similar training without biofeedback (p < 0.05). Control subjects experienced negligible change in HPT time.

Conclusions: This pilot study of a heterogeneous group shows that GRB may offer a simple means to help impaired users re-learn specified manual tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Cohort Studies
  • Feedback, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gestures*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome