Intersensory Integration in Functional Neurology: An Engineer's Perspective of Music as an Interventionary Medium (pp. 215-226)
Authors: Farah Jubran and Gerry Leisman
Abstract: An application is discussed that uniquely integrates auditory and visual stimulation with force modulation. It was developed to answer unmet needs of Occupational Therapists, Art Therapists and Music Therapists, who treat developmental disorders, as well as therapists specializing in neurological aftercare and hand rehabilitation. Squeezing the special pressure sensitive grip sensors causes the application to generate sounds, voices and music, along with captivating imagery, based on the level of force applied and according to the therapy objective. The described systemís development was guided by the assumption that the human brain intuitively associates sound pitch with tension. The system uses the association of pitch with muscle tension to simplify the creation of music by transforming grip-induced muscle tension to musical phrases which provides a new therapy option based on sensory integration. The grip force sensorsí sensitivity and responsiveness can be adjusted to the patientís motor skills, thus making the transformation more ďnatural.Ē. Even patients suffering severe disabilities find the grip squeezing force and the produced sounds highly correlated in a direct and natural manner. The musicality and continuity of the musical creation highly depends on the patientís skills, pace and the systemís speed of response. The systemís ďon-the-fly tuningĒ helps matching the system tempo with the patientís pace, accelerating or decelerating speed, to determine the desired level of challenge and gratification during the treatment. The system helps in reducing passivity and increasing motivation and awareness through the sense of control granted to the patient playing the tool, as well as in reducing involuntary movement. In addition, the system allows the creation of personalized treatment programs that make use of meaningful images or photos from the patient and his/her world and surroundings.