IEEE just wrapped up its Presidents’ Change the World Competition, designed to award engineering students for well developed ideas that may have real positive impact on the world. One of the winning entries, designed to help handicapped children practice walking skills, is from a team out of B.V.Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering & Technology in Hubli, India. The basic idea is an electronic tiled floor (think Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean music video) that can light up based on a predefined algorithm and the person’s movement, that motivates the user to step on the next tile. By turning simple walking into a game, the team hopes this will prove to be a viable option as a therapy for all kinds of motor defects.
From the system description:
The system will come interfaced with a square grid of tiles (that can be setup on the floor of a room). The heart of the system is a microcontroller (AT89S52) into which code is written to perform the desired operation. The unit will come with an easy-tooperate interface enabling the instructor to change operating modes and speeds. Mode defines the pattern in which the tiles glow. Speed refers to the time duration between glowing of two consecutive tiles. The subject has to step onto the tile while it is still glowing, for the game to continue. The aim of the game is to step on all the glowing tiles within the prescribed time and complete all the levels. As the subject improves upon his performance, the operator can increase the mode and speed.