Executive Summary

In this project, we propose a user-centered, home-based approach to objectively and quantitatively assess the development of hand grasp in infants at risk for fine motor delay, and predict the future diagnosis of delay. Undiagnosed motor delay can prevent the timely use of early interventions, and lead to motor disabilities throughout life. Through biweekly in-home assessments administered by the infants’ caregivers, we plan to assess spontaneous hand use using video capture, and interactive grasp force with instrumented toys in infants from 12-36 weeks of age. Several infant-caregiver pairs will be included to advise the toy development process to ensure the toys and assessment tools are optimized for in-home use. Toys will include biofeedback of the infant’s own grasp force through different sensory channels, including touch (vibration), vision (lights), and hearing (sounds), to learn whether each infant is able to integrate sensory feedback into an adaptive hand grasp. This information could signal potential avenues for early interventions to encourage object exploration and functional hand use.

Expected Deliverables

Threefold: (1) the Hand Use and Grasp Sensor (HUGS) system, a home-based assessment tool for infant grasp development, (2) typically developing norms for the HUGS system, and (3) software to use HUGS outcomes to predict fine motor delay at 1 year of age in at-risk infants.

Meet the R1 Team