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Year: 2012-
Tomoya Shimokakimoto
Kenji Suzuki
- University Hospital, Rehabilitation Section
- Cybernics
- Social Interaction

bioToys: biofeedback device for physiotherapy using building blocks
bioToys: biofeedback device for physiotherapy using building blocks


In the field of physiotherapy for children with impaired motor functions or congenital loss of limbs, physical therapists assist children to recover motor functions or to adapt to the use of prosthesis controlled by electromyography signals. However, children often quit training to use artificial limbs because it becomes boring with repetition. During to limited time, the physical therapists are required to perform many operations on the biofeedback systems in order to personalize them for each user. It is important for children to feel excited about therapeutic activities and also the system used should be easy to handled by the therapists. In this study, we propose a building block based biofeedback toy called “bioToys”. This system consists of input blocks to receive physical or physiological signals
and output blocks to generate different action or effects. This building block system allows users including therapists, children and their family to program and personalize the biofeedback systems.

In the field of physiotherapy for children, therapists are struggling to design therapeutic programs and methods according to the patients response. They encounter the problem that some children easily lose attention and interests of training to use the prosthesis because it become boring with repetition, since the rehabilitation training contents comprise only simple tasks. We developed special building blocks that can be used in the traditional way, although they are embedded with a fully functioning electronic circuit. We verified that the developed blocks are able to be used with the traditional ones, and these blocks can be also utilized for a biofeedback training that allows to use biological or physical signals in processing blocks and can generates various actions. We will investigate how the developed bioToys could encourage children to construct various biofeedback training systems and to play with them. The system can be constructed by arranging and rearranging these building blocks easily in real time as well as measuring different combinations of blocks in a quantitative measure. Further investigation will also include the design of different types of blocks.


JSTThis work is partly supported by JST PRESTO program.


  • Shimokakimoto, S., and Suzuki, K., "bioToys: biofeedback device for physiotherapy using building blocks," The Eighteenth International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics 2013, Daejeon, Korea, Online Proceedings (4 pages), 2013.
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