Pediatric Therapy Device

A customizable display to help kids in therapy.

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My wife, who works with kids as a therapist, was talking about her job one day. She wanted to find a cause-and-effect device that she could use with a specific child. She wanted a device that would play a video clip when the kid did something. Originally, she used a tablet, but that doesn't really cut it. It doesn't provide tactile feedback and unexpected things could happen depending on how the kid touches it. Plus, they're expensive, and kids are good at breaking expensive stuff. Another option is commercial toys. These have their own problems. They're not customizable, they don't have video, and the buttons are not always compatible with the kids' conditions. So I told her I could make something, mostly with stuff I already had.

Using a customizable display, scraps of acrylic, and buttons from therapy devices, my goal is to complete a dynamic device to help kids.

This project was made to help one specific child in therapy. Its purpose is to improve cognition, motor skills, and a sense of cause and effect. While the expected results were less than optimistic due to the child's condition, after about 10 minutes of being shown how to use it he was doing more than anyone had seen him do in his entire life. He was enjoying the experience and the therapists saw significant improvement in his actions. He has since been able to extend these skills to other activities, showing how using something personally motivating to him is able to improve his cognition overall.

Considering the success of the first iteration, I am working on making it better. It will be smaller, easier to set up, easier to use, and able to do more than it could.

  • 1 × DT070-BT-P LCD display 12 V DC powered display with memory, button inputs, USB port, and SD card slot.
  • 1 × Large Switch Plate Button
  • 1 × 0.22" Acrylic

  • Version 2

    David Shamblin06/13/2015 at 03:31 0 comments

    My wife and some of the other therapists have been using the device at work. It's been super successful with the kids. The one child who it was made for has been showing progress they've never seen from him. It's exciting when a project actually ends up helping people. Since they're using it so much, they've given me a lot of suggestions on how to make it better. Like, "Can you make it so the wires aren't everywhere?" I've actually been making a lot of progress on the second iteration. It's been whittled smaller and smaller and idea after idea has been considered and thrown out. After a lot of prototyping, this is the next version:

    It was actually laser cut today. I plan on putting a handle on the front to make it easy to carry (which I forgot to include in the drawing). The sides will have 1/4" inputs to make it easy to use with existing therapy inputs and a rotary switch to allow the inputs to be configured. With this, the therapist wouldn't have to do anything to switch the video except turn the switch. Additionally, this can be used to configure multiple inputs to activate the same video. This was not possible in the previous version. Finally, a DC jack was added which can be used with a 12 V battery pack I bought, or a 12 V wall wart.

  • Finishing Touches

    David Shamblin03/12/2015 at 16:24 0 comments

    Got the new capacitor in. I also learned that I could've safely used a capacitor with the the same capacitance but higher Voltage. That would've saved me a lot of time and I'll definitely keep that in mind for next time.

    Once everything was together, I put the screen and speaker on the face plate. In my junk pile, there were some nylon spacers and screws that worked perfectly for this.

    Originally, I was going to cut a screen-sized hole out of the acrylic. Considering my poor measuring skills, it's for the best that I didn't. Plus, I realized I didn't actually want the LCD exposed, especially around kids. My original idea for adjusting the bracket in the back changed also. I had some knobs I was going to use with a nut, but it turns out that it was most likely not going to be reliable enough. So I went with male and female threaded knobs and a rubber washer in between the contacting pieces.

    Since the screen decided that I would be using a battery pack instead of a wall plug, I had to find my battery pack. I know I have a 12 V AA pack somewhere, but I couldn't find it and went with this 10 AA, 15 V pack. I just put a 12 V regulator (LM7812C) on it so I didn't have anymore blown capacitors.

    After that, it was just a matter of figuring out video compression, audio format, and frame rates to get what I wanted on the screen (this actually took more time than I expected). But when it was all together, the video loaded, and it worked perfectly.

    The red button to the right of the big yellow one is to stop the video. When the kid presses that yellow button, his favorite show will play.

    There could still be some polishing and refinement that go into the design. And because of the flexibility of this platform, there are many more possibilities for this device.

    Thanks everyone for looking.

  • Time For The Problems To Show Up

    David Shamblin03/11/2015 at 17:38 0 comments

    Went to assemble everything today. I needed to pick up a few pieces of hardware (screws, spacers, etc) and discovered that a local hardware store has much more than I expected them to. When I got home, I went to put everything together. Unfortunately, the new slots I had cut were tight (I'm just not very good with this measuring thing). The screws just fit. The problem is, when something "just fits" it causes stress. This stress caused cracks around the speaker slots. It doesn't look good, but it's going to have to work.

    One my last real decisions had to do with powering the thing. I'm trying to go cheap with stuff I already have, so to get 12 V I was between the 8 D battery holder it came with (yeah, no thanks), an 8 AA battery holder I had, or a 12 V wall plug. The AA pack would make it portable, but had to be filled with batteries. The wall plug was easy, but would restrict where it could be used. I decided on the wall plug. So I pulled one out of my junk pile and started putting some two pin connectors on it. As I'm moving things around, the whole assembly falls off the counter and breaks the face plate. Well, isn't this nice? Should I glue it back together? Dremel it? I Google using a Dremel on acrylic. Google tells me "bad idea, but try a saw." I pull out the miter box with a hand saw and start my latest modification.

    It's a little rough, but it will work. I only have one speaker anyway, so it was probably meant to be. Back to the power source. I went with this one:

    It seemed appropriate enough. I got the two pin connector on, and put some hot glue, just to be safe.

    Time to see if it works. I hooked it up and plugged it in. Then I got a pop and puff of smoke. This isn't good. The switch wasn't on, which gave me hope that this was just a fuse or capacitor or something. Opening it up gave me a view of this:

    Well, at least I can fix that. Unfortunately, I don't have a 16 V 100 microFarad capacitor on hand, so it's time to pick one up.

    Also, I'll be using a AA battery pack.

  • Supporting Structure Cut

    David Shamblin03/11/2015 at 17:02 0 comments

    Finalized the supporting structure design and got it laser cut from 0.22" acrylic. Many thanks to the TI Innovation Lab at UCF for cutting this.

    Fitting the screen onto the face plate, it was immediately obvious I made an error. It seems that when I did a smart dimension in SolidWorks, I set the vertical dimension of the LCD screws as edge to edge, when it should have been center to center. Oops. Thanks again to the TI Lab for re-cutting a slot to make it work.

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John Fyffe wrote 05/24/2017 at 07:11 point

my good sir, would u have the datasheets on the display u used, I have a similar model of display but can not find any data on it

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David Shamblin wrote 06/02/2017 at 22:41 point

Unfortunately, I was in the same boat you're in and don't know of anything out there. Even the chip inside had grind marks to avoid anyone from knowing what chip it was. 

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dougal wrote 06/30/2015 at 17:55 point

"While the expected results were less than optimistic due to the child's condition, after about 10 minutes of being shown how to use it he was doing more than anyone had seen him do in his entire life."

It's amazing sometimes how something that might seem insignificant to us can have a huge impact on somebody else. We see this sort of thing all the time with our son, who essentially suffered a stroke at the age of 3 (he's now 20).


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