Take an ordinary athletic glove, a vibration motor for each finger and a smartphone programed with piano music and you have an amazing piano teacher. The Mobile Music Touch glove was designed by researchers at Georgia Tech to improve motor skills especially in those who suffer from spinal cord injuries. The vibrations help the wearers know which finger to use while learning to play the piano. A recent study in conjunction with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta has also shown that the tactile glove helps improve touch and aid rehabilitation after regular use as a result of the vibrations.
The Mobile Music Touch glove is outfitted with a small box on the back that provides vibrations to each finger. This box is wirelessly connected to a mobile app loaded with piano music and works in conjunction with a special keyboard. Students wear the glove while practicing the piano and the glove sends a vibration to each finger when it should be used to hit a note. The design team at Georgia Tech, led by Ph.D. graduate Tanya Markow, recently completed a study at the Shepherd Center on the glove and its use for those who suffer from spinal cord injuries.
Their test subjects wore the glove multiple times a week while practicing the piano and for two hours a day, five days a week while going about their normal day-to-day business. At the end of the study, not only had the subjects progressed farther in learning the piano than their control group, but their motor skills and sense of touch had improved markedly. The glove is also a more interesting and engaging way to rehabilitate than other methods for this type of injury and the researchers have high hopes for this new musical-based therapy.