A device developed by two physical therapists was among 13 projects featured at an innovation festival hosted recently by the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History in collaboration with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The device, developed by H. Thubi Kolobe, PT, PhD, FAPTA, from Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), and Peter E. Pidcoe, PT, DPT, PhD, from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Physical Therapy, is called a Self-Initiated Prone Progressive Crawler (SIPPC), which, according to a news story on the American Physical Therapy Association’s news site, combines a skateboard-like platform with a “high-tech onesie” that helps infants with developmental delays avoid learned non-use/disuse.

The news story explains that, according to an article in the OUHSC newsletter, the “onesie” worn by infants using the SIPPC is a “kinematic capture suit” that delivers movement data to researchers, allowing them to fine-tune the board so that it responds to the initiation of a movement and helps the child move across the floor.

The invention is intended to reward the infant with movement and provide early successes that the child can learn to repeat, so that crucial brain connections are made at a key time in the child’s development, the news story continues.

The SIPPC is also being used in conjunction with a special cap with multiple sensors that monitor electrical activity in the child’s brain, the news story continues.

A media release from the Smithsonian Institution notes that the innovation festival takes place to explore how today’s inventors are creating the world of the future. Innovations from 13 companies, universities, governmental agencies, and independent inventors were selected by a juried panel to participate in the festival.

Highlights of the festival included innovation and invention programs, hands-on activities, expert talks and demonstrations, and opportunities for visitors to meet and exchange ideas with inventors and innovators while exploring their own creative abilities, according to the release.

[Source(s): American Physical Therapy Association, Smithsonian Institution]