FOOT Cursor

Name: Dati

Event: TOM: Melbourne Makeathon 2017

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DATI'S CHALLENGE

Cornelius (Dati) is a 12-year-old boy living in Papua New Guinea and is excited by this challenge, being his first involvement with TOM. Dati dreams of a career in graphic design and spends a large portion of his time creating beautiful design works on his computer. Dati was born with cerebral palsy, and as a result, has very limited functional use of his upper limbs. Additionally, Whilst Dati is unable to mobilise using his lower limbs, he has over time developed enough strength and dexterity, enabling him to access a computer mouse and keyboard using his feet. Due to Dati's physical limitations, in conjunction with inadequate equipment, he is unable to create the designs he is envisioning. 

Our need knower wants to be able to produce professional designs on his computer, independently but with a more accessible computer system that is adapted for his needs. Limitations were encountered in the physical and functional assessment of the knower as he was unable to attend TOM due to an unforeseen reason. This complicated the challenge as the team members were not able to directly interact and evaluate Dati's strengths and problems. Also, iterations were lengthy and it took a long time to get feedback. The team was able to send e-mails and videos to Dati in an attempt to do some informal assessment of his motor function and ability to utilise his current system. This was challenging due to the time limits and limited ability to perform a professional assessment of Dati's spasticity E.G.: motor power, muscle tone, AROM/ ROM, sensation, deep tendon reflexes, the presence of UL/LL deformity and spinal alignment. From the functional assessment that was video taped while Dati was performing some of his tasks on his computer, it was observed that Dati's challenges were determined by a multitude of factors.

THE SOLUTION

The solution is built up of three elements improving accessibility. Firstly, the requirement to move the mouse against a surface on the floor to control the cursor with a curled foot has been replaced with a track-ball, requiring Dati to only move his relaxed foot to control the cursor. Secondly, we've separated the mouse buttons and moved them to the other foot, thus enabling a smoother click-and-drag action, which frustrated Dati in his current setup. Lastly, Dati's family was equipped with a clear set of instructions to configure and optimise accessibility settings such as sticky keys and mouse button click-lock.

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