A Guitar Controller for People with Cerebral Palsy

TitleA Guitar Controller for People with Cerebral Palsy
Publication TypeMaster Thesis
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSchmidt, M.
AbstractIt has been proven that playing a musical instrument brings with it several benefits such as increased intelligence and improvements in fine motor skills. Unfortunately, people with motor disabilities are often excluded from these benefits. This thesis aims to improve this situation by proposing a guitar controller which gives people with Cerebral Palsy the possibility of creating music, hence enabling them to access the aforementioned benefits. For the design of the interface, the movement abilities of a person with Cerebral Palsy were analysed and, based on the findings, a tangible user interface was implemented. Besides this individual tangible user interface, universal software was designed and implemented. The interface was given to a patient with Cerebral Palsy and was tested by using different evaluation methods. Firstly, the patient's playing accuracy was measured and analysed over a period of nine weeks. Secondly, a usability and user experience test were conducted. Next the patient's supervisor was interviewed to see how the interface influenced the user's life. Finally, the interface was reviewed by a music therapist to evaluate its potential in the field of music therapy. The results indicate a slight improvement in the user's technical (fretting) ability. An improvement in the patient's strumming performance, however, could not yet be seen. Nevertheless, the interviews indicate that the interface had a positive effect on the patient due to increased self-confidence and identification with the instrument. Even though the results look promising, we should bear in mind that the results gained are from a single patient and therefore cannot be generalised.
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