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.