Mobile Music: a musical therapy assistance device

Alex Hildebrand
Tanner Malkoff


Children suffering from Cerebral Palsy often undergo gait therapy in order to strengthen and coordinate their trunks and legs. The patients often feel unmotivated to perform their gait training because the physical movements associated with it are difficult and there is no immediate reward. Physical therapists (PT) will often play music as an incentive to get the children focused on their physical therapy, but this is inefficient and impedes the PT from analyzing and tuning the patients' gait. Mobile Music is a small device designed for automating musical therapy during gait training. In this paper, we go through several design iterations in order to create a cheap, ergonomic device that will sense motion and use musical stimulation in order to encourage active participation in gait training. While we had some difficulties implementing the motion sensing algorithm in the final device, testing done in the prototype phase showed promising results in accurately detecting participation in physical therapy. We have determined that the problems associated with these are likely due to timing issues in the microcontroller unit due to multiple reasons and the lack of feedback to the device of the audio streaming state. With the addition of a mobile application and some slight changes to the code implementation of the motion sensing algorithm, we believe that these problems can be fixed. Because of the improvement in media player control that a mobile app enables, a newer, lower powered system configuration can be implemented that reduces audio output noise as well as reduce power consumption. These improvements combined with the low cost and simple interface could make Mobile Music into a very viable product with the potential to help children with movement disorders improve their gaits.