Haptic/VR Assessment Tool for Fine Motor Control
The Nine Hole Peg Test (NHPT) is routinely used in clinical environments to evaluate a patient’s fine hand control. A physician measures the total time required to insert nine pegs into nine holes and obtains information on the dexterity of the patient. Even though this method is simple and known to be reliable, using a virtual environment with haptic feedback instead of the classical device could give a more complete diagnosis which would isolate different constituting components of a pathology and objectively assess motor ability. Haptic devices enable extracting a large quantity of information by recording the position and the exerted forces at high frequency (1kHz). In addition to the creation of a realistic virtual counterpart of the NHPT, the present work also includes the implementation of real-time data analysis in order to extract meaningful and objective scores for the physician and the patient. A healthy group of volunteers performed the real and virtual tests which yielded a baseline for the scores of the different measured mobility parameters. Once calibrated, the virtual test successfully discriminates different mobility dysfunctions simulated by a healthy subject.