A team of Rice University seniors known as Helping Hands hopes to restore strength and flexibility to the hands and wrists of children with cerebral palsy using multiple force sensors and a digital dinosaur.
"These kids have a real problem with their hands," said Jenna Desmarais, a senior at Rice majoring in mechanical engineering. "The fingers and wrists are locked into a sort of claw-like position. Even after surgery to correct it, they need physical therapy to get stronger."
The team's rehabilitation device, the Dino-Might, was inspired by their mentor, Gloria Gogola, a pediatric hand and upper-extremity surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Houston. She corrects the condition, known as spastic wrist flexion deformity, and restores wrist extension by surgically removing a tendon from the underside of the wrist and attaching it to the upper portion.