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In this post I will offer a variety of variations and creative ideas for the use of the therapeutic virtual gameing environment of Timocco. Here I’ll suggest various ways of using the Timocco sphere shaped gloves, and I will recommend additional accessories that can be used as sensors.
1. Different Ways of Using the Timocco Balls
The Timocco balls are designed as gloves, and are to be dressed on the child’s hands. However, one can use them in several ways for different therapeutic purposes. Attached to the balls, there is a strap that allows additional adjustments over other parts of the body, such as the head and legs. You can thread a strip of fabric or ribbon through the strap, and tie it around the head, so that the ball is located on the user’s forehead. In this way, the child can play the game by head movements without the need for limb movements. This option is particularly suitable for children with severe motor disabilities.
One can also attach the balls to the legs and place the camera on the floor in order to work with the feet instead of the hands. In this way we challenge the child’s posture, and the ability to maintain balance in static and dynamic positions. The child will be required to lift a foot off the ground, stabilize his body while standing on one leg, and control its position in space at the same time.
In general, the camera can be placed high or low, according to the goal of one’s therapy. A high location of the camera requires the hands to work against gravity, while a waist-high position will require less shoulder work.
2. The Use of Additional Sensors
As mentioned, the Timocco game environment operates through a simple camera and gloves dressed on a child’s hands. The game gloves do not contain a sensor and the detection is done using image processing technology so that the camera detects the shape and color of the balls. For this reason, the system allows the use of random objects found in every home or clinic that is circular shaped and of one of the three ball colors (red, blue, green). For example, if we want to work on gross motor and coordination of both hands, we can use a balloon (various sizes) instead of balls. Holding the balloon encourages the child to synchronize his hands movements and regulate the power grip while moving the hands and changing their location in space.
If we wish to work on fine motor skills, we can choose a small sensor such as tiny objects taken out of the mushrooms board game. The mushrooms encourage the child to use pinch grip so that the finger and thumb are holding the base of the mushroom.
Another way to hold the mushroom is by sliding the finger inside and to wear it as a thimble. Since the virtual game requires the child to move the sensors in different directions, this form of work will encourage separation between fingers and strengthening of intrinsic palm muscles.
Additional accessories that can be used as sensors can be: rolled socks, pool balls, thimbles and any other spherical object in the right colors.
On my next post I will demonstrate how to integrate objects from within one’s surroundings, into the virtual environment.