The design and testing of a novel mechanomyogram-driven switch controlled by small eyebrow movements
Persons with multiple disabilities and minimal motor behavior may be unable to use available microswitch technology to control environmental stimuli. For these persons, one may need to rely on small motor expressions (as responses) and new, matching microswitch technology to ensure a successful outcome. In the present study, a small movement of the forehead skin was selected as the response for two participants (ages 6.5 and 14.2 years) with profound multiple disabilities. The microswitch technology included (a) an optic sensor, i.e., barcode reader, (b) a small tag with horizontal bars attached to the participants' forehead, and (c) an electronic control system which activated stimuli in relation to response occurrence. Movement of the forehead skin shifted up or down the tag with bars and this shifting, if greater than a preset limit and therefore recorded as a response, led to the activation of the control system. Each participant received an ABAB sequence, in which A represented baseline and B intervention phases, and a 6-wk. postintervention check. Analysis showed both participants increased their responding during the intervention phases and maintained that responding at the postintervention check. Implications of the findings were discussed.