Master's Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Marom Bikson

Second Advisor

Bingmei Fu

Third Advisor

Grace Ambrose-Zakan

Keywords

mobility device, visual impairments, white cane, assistive device

Abstract

Being able to see allows mankind tremendous access to learn about the world, and because so much learning comes visually, children with visual impairments are delayed in developing range of skills: learning own languages, doing activities, socializing with peers, and etc. While children with vision can do virtually all the activities and tasks for granted, children with visual impairment require different types of tools or materials to do same tasks most of time. Amongst all the disadvantages that children with visual impairment have, one of the most critical disadvantageous area that visual impairment brings to toddler is learning to walk.

This thesis presents the step-by-step development of a novel assistive device that could be used for toddlers and children with visual impairments to help them walking, while developing important skill sets in their early developmental milestone. In this paper, detailed construction methods for new conceptual designs are described, and how design was modified and implemented on to next design after tested for clinical trials with blind participants to approach to the final design. Moreover, underlying mechanisms that were adopted to resolve the initial and newly found constraints with performance of the device are presented in this paper. Device developing methods presented in this thesis are more likely based on trial-and-error, thus, technique of implementation on missing and lacking criteria on earlier versions and approach towards optimally functioning version was used.

The result of this research showed that improved performances of toddlers in walking more confidently and acquiring better realization on surrounding environment. This result implies that assistive mobility device would provide aid to blind toddlers and children to learn how to walk which is an essential part of gross motor skills in which development of gross motor skills plays crucial role in development of toddlers and children at their youthhood.1 Development of this novel device and further improvements on the design would provide a fortunate light to unshed darkness that blocks toddlers with visual impairment and hopefully fill up those areas that visually impaired children are relatively slow in development.

 
 

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