A year ago Julian decided he wanted to play the piano. Quite soon after he'd started it became apparent that his cerebral palsy also affects his finer motor coordination.
He found it impossible to do certain chords and was devastated.
The idea behind the Finger Trainer was to take Julian away from the piano so he could work on his finer control while having an enjoyable time doing so.
The device is a series of five pressure sensors. Each sensor is linked to its own strip of eight Adafruit’s Neopixel LEDs. These are individually programmable/addressable LEDs.
The harder Julian presses on the sensors, more of the LEDs light up.
The idea being that it is possible to challenge Julian, in a fun way, to achieve different controlled finger moves and pressure controls seeing the lights light up as requested. A series of challenges could be programmed into the device to indicate which fingers should press and how far and he would have to achieve that level or close to it to gain points.
How it works
Each pressure sensor has a coloured foam, finger pad covering it. The colour of the pad is the same as the LEDs that light up for that finger.
The LEDs are each protected inside a clear acrylic tube. Currently, the prototype is controlled via an Arduino Uno.
Conclusion and considerations
The finger trainer is entertaining to play with. But it is not easy to manipulate. If Julian takes his fingers off the pads they move slightly and need to be repositioned before continuing. As he likes them I have started to make gloves with each of the sensors actually set in the fingertips. Then I’ll program some challenging games into the controller for him to imitate the moves.