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The development of assistive technology to reveal knowledge of physical world concepts in young people who have profound motor impairments.

Moseley, M., 2020. The development of assistive technology to reveal knowledge of physical world concepts in young people who have profound motor impairments. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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MOSELEY, Mark Andrew_Eng.D_2019.pdf



Cognitively able children and young people who have profound motor impairments and complex communication needs (the target group or TG) face many barriers to learning, communication, personal development, physical interaction and play experiences, compared to their typically developing peers. Physical interaction (and play) are known to be important components of child development, but this group currently has few suitable ways in which to participate in these activities. Furthermore, the TG may have knowledge about real world physical concepts despite having limited physical interaction experiences but it can be difficult to reveal this knowledge and conventional assessment techniques are not suitable for this group, largely due to accessibility issues. This work presents a pilot study involving a robotics-based system intervention which enabled members of the TG to experience simulated physical interaction and was designed to identify and develop the knowledge and abilities of the TG relating to physical concepts involving temporal, spatial or movement elements. The intervention involved the participants using an eye gaze controlled robotic arm with a custom made haptic feedback device to complete a set of tasks. To address issues with assessing the TG, two new digital Assistive Technology (AT) accessible assessments were created for this research, one using static images, the other video clips. Two participants belonging to the TG took part in the study. The outcomes indicated a high level of capability in performing the tasks, with the participants exhibiting a level of knowledge and ability which was much higher than anticipated. One explanation for this finding could be that they have acquired this knowledge through past experiences and ‘observational learning’. The custom haptic device was found to be useful for assessing the participants’ sense of ‘touch’ in a way which is less invasive than conventional ‘pin-prick’ techniques. The new digital AT accessible assessments seemed especially suitable for one participant, while results were mixed for the other. This suggests that a combination of ‘traditional’ assessment and a ‘practical’ intervention assessment approach may help to provide a clearer, more rounded understanding of individuals within the TG. The work makes contributions to knowledge in the field of disability and Assistive Technology, specifically regarding: AT accessible assessments; haptic device design for the TG; the combination of robotics, haptics and eye gaze for use by the TG to interact with the physical world; a deeper understanding of the TG in general; insights into designing for and working with the TG. The work and information gathered can help therapists and education staff to identify strengths and gaps in knowledge and skills, to focus learning and therapy activities appropriately, and to change the perceptions of those who work with this group, encouraging them to broaden their expectations of the TG.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:assistive technology; eye gaze; robotic; haptic; digital assessment; cerebral palsy; disability
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:33460
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Feb 2020 15:03
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:20


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