Saturday, December 26, 2009

response to gene's summary of existing literature on cane training

Gene, this is a great start. It is very helpful to see a complete list of the categories of cane skills that O&M teaches. Now that we know in general the kinds of movements that our apparatus can measure, we need to create a curriculum for the WiiCane so that instructors and students can maximize their results. This curriculum should  provide instructions for using WiiCane in a linear, cumulative way, to promote rapid acquisition of skills and habits needed for safe and efficient travel with a long cane. It should present training activities as a series of games, where students are challenged to improve their performance by mastering skills of escalating difficulty.

In looking at the list of skills customarily included in O&M training (according to the text books you have consulted), it appears that some skills will be quite easy to teach using our system, while some others could very hard, with the rest probably impossible or at least impractical to achieve in this 24 month project. In sorting through these, I think we can add program modules to accomplish some things right away. For example, it would be easy to add features that measure pivoting movements, with feedback played in the headphones as the user's orientation changes. In our curriculum, we could add an activity where the user is walking along under the light track, and as he approaches the end of the course, an instruction is played in the headphones to stop and turn 180 degrees.  We would then turn off veering feedback and just look at rotation via the belt-mounted camera. We could provide a short pulse (either accoustical or vibratory) when the student has reversed direction. This behavior and feedback scenario could then be built into a "lap swimming" task (for advanced students), where they would have to practice going back and forth on course, turning at each end with the help of this rotational feedback. This is one example of how skills taught in standard cane training could be integrated into exercises carried out with WiiCane. The challenge will be to organize these exercises in some linear fashion to create a curriculum which addresses the needs of each user population.

1 comment:

GB said...

Thanks Steve. A few points. The list I presented in no way represents a complete list of skills involved in an O&M curriculum. The list was culled from the standard pedagogy, and each item selected because I see the potential for the device to shape the particular skill. (There are many items which simply have nothing to do with what we can possibly do).

Some of the items, rotation and forward movement, for examples, seem simple to accomplish; others, touch-and-slide technique for example, would require some additional equipment such as a fabricated, portable shoreline to touch.

I think we agree that looking at our current system, and how well it does what we want, is the first step. It would help if everyone provided some feedback on the list. Meantime, I can begin to order these into a hierarchy or priority order that represents a synergy of the O&M curriculum and the capacity of the WiiCane. (I think an example of the inherent conflicts the WiiCane presents would be how we used the device during testing – in a real word hierarchy, cane coverage would be taught before issues of veering are addressed; using the device, instructors may want to deal with veering first in order to make the arc coverage training more effective.) In some ways the device, with its capacity to impart skills independent of actual travel, challenges the traditional programmatic approaches.