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Assistive Technology Paper

Leslie Ramos
Touro University Nevada



Meredith is a 20-year-old female majoring in recreational therapy at the University of Las

Vegas in Nevada (UNLV). She is currently going to school full-time and has one more year until
graduation. She is the vice president of the table tennis club at UNLV and has been in love with
the sport since she was introduced to it as a child. Table tennis is a sport that brought her family
together. During long family parties, the children would complain about not having anything to
do. One day her parents bought a table tennis set for Meredith and her cousins figured out how
to set it up and play. Over the years, she became a great player and is known as the family
champion for the past 10 years and counting. In addition to being a student, Meredith works
part-time at the Las Vegas Table Tennis club. She loves working there because she is able to
watch professional table tennis tournaments and meet popular players. Her job requires her to
help during transitions between matches by picking up ping pong balls and making sure the
players are ready to go. At the end of day, she is responsible for putting the equipment back
where it belongs. Meredith is determined to win a championship in a professional table tennis
tournament in the near future.
Problem and Diagnosis
Meredith survived a cardio vascular accident (CVA) six months ago which has impacted
her ability to engage in occupations in her daily life. A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off
to an area of the brain and as result brain tissue dies from being deprived of oxygen (National
Stroke Association, 2014). She has been receiving occupational therapy and physical therapy
during those six months which has gotten her back to living life her life like it was; however, she
still shows some signs of the residual CVA. Some areas that have been affecting her ability to
execute her favorite leisure activity is the ability to grasp objects in her right hand for long


periods of time. Her right hand is also her dominant hand that she typical uses while holding the
ping pong paddle. In addition, she shows some signs of decreased balance and coordination after
standing for several hours which impacts her capacity to work long hours at a table tennis
tournament. Although she is able to engage in the majority of her occupations, her biggest
concern is being able to participate in table tennis.
Description of Assistive Devices
In order for Meredith to fully return to table tennis, she would need assistance in grasping
the ping pong paddle. The Pick n Play Glove was created for her right hand with easily
available products. On the inside of the glove is a loop to help position the handle in place. The
sweat wicking fabric wraps over her fingers and around her wrist to hold the handle in place.
In addition to grasping the ping pong paddle, Meredith is required to pick up the ping
pong balls in between matches. Picking up balls on the floor requires her to bend down and
grasp each ball in her hand. The Pick-up Pal was formed by a clear tube with a slanted cut for
easy retrieval of ping pong balls. Once Meredith applies some pressure over the ping pong ball,
it will pop inside the tube without falling out. On the top end of the tube, a waistband was
applied for Meredith to slip her open palm in positon to lightly grasp the tube. An additional
strap wraps around her forearm to allow security when reaching for the balls. Please refer to the
Appendix for a detailed visual of both devices.
Purpose of the Assistive Devices
The device was constructed to help Meredith find additional grasp support to fully
participate in table tennis. The Pick n Play Glove helps maintain a firm grasp on the ping pong
paddle handle throughout a match. In addition, it will provide a secure grip with the use of
limited hand function. The ability to hold the paddle without it slipping out of her hand will


enhance her ability to focus on hitting the ball instead of letting go of the ping pong handle. It
will also allow her to play throughout the day without experiencing muscle fatigue in her hands.
The Pick-up Pal is a handy tool that will allow Meredith to limit the repetition of bending
down and grasping each ping pong ball one at a time. This tool utilizes her abilities and provides
her with an easy solution to pick up multiple balls without the chance of her losing her balance.
The Pick-up Pal decreases the chance of falls and helps prevent back strain from monotonous
movements. Overall, these two devices will allow her to engage in a meaningful leisure activity.
Additional Population
Although these devices were constructed specifically for Meredith, there are additional
populations that can benefit from using both devices. The Pick n Play and Pick-up Pal can be
utilized for individuals with the inability to grasp items with ease such as carpal tunnel
syndrome, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The Pick-up Pal can specifically help individuals
who are at risk for falls. In addition, it can help individuals who play table tennis by picking up
ping pong balls with ease and convenience.
Cost Analysis and Fabrication of Assistive Devices
The Pick n Play device was constructed with easily accessible items within the
community. The base of this device consisted of a right handed weight lifting glove. A sweat
wicking fabric was sewn on and Velcro was used to secure the wrap around the fingers and wrist.
The total cost of this device is $ 6.65 which is extremely affordable and fairly easy to make.
The Pick-up Pal device required some research to determine the appropriate size tube for
the ping pong balls. A four-foot fluorescent light shield was used as the main component of this
assistive device. One end of the tube was cut at an angle and two small holes were inserted
directly across from each other. A black hair tie was inserted horizontally through the two holes


and tied at the ends to provide a secure way to keep the ping pongs balls from rolling out of the
tube. At the bottom of the tube, an arrow made out of red duct tape was place to provide a visual
reference to maneuver the tube over the ping pong ball with ease. To complete this device, a
black heavy waistband was utilized to strap the palm of the hand and forearm in securely.
Adhesive tape and Velcro was used to keep the waistband in place. This device totaled to the
price of $6.26. Please see Appendix for complete details of the cost analysis for both devices.
Similar Devices
Surprisingly, there were very few available products similar to the Pick n Play glove.
There were two online websites that provided similar results; however, both were expensive in
comparison to the Pick n Play glove. The H-200 grip assist glove helps maintain a grasp for
everyday situations. The product can be use on the left or right hand and is made of neoprene. A
product request had to be made via email to receive a price inquiry and can only be purchased
online. A similar device called the Grasping Cuff is specifically design for individuals with
limited grasp and good arm strength to help individuals engage in activities such as sports and
recreation. Although this is the best device out of the two, this glove can only be purchased
online and is currently out of stock until September 2015. Overall, these devices were harder to
purchase and more expensive.
Similar devices to the Pick-up Pal were impressive in terms of their convenience and use.
The My Ping Pong Buddy can be utilized to pick up multiple ping pong balls at the same time. It
can hold more than 100 balls; however, it is heavier in comparison to the Pick-up Pal. In
addition, this is available for purchase online. The Pong Pal is similar to the device created for
Meredith. The Pong Pal is made of an extendable plastic tube with an angled end to retrieve
balls one by one. Although both of these devices are more efficient at picking up balls, the Pick-


up Pal provides additional support for the population that may not be able to grasp the handle or
tube. In addition, it is cheap and easy to make. Please refer to Appendix for further details on
similar devices.
Literature Review
Individuals who have experienced a stroke have to go through intensive therapy to reengage in their daily occupations. Hand and arm impairments are very common among stroke
patients and many occupational therapy interventions focus on using the impaired side. Nathan,
Johnson, and McGuire (2009) tested a low-cost, electrical simulated glove that can assist in
grasping items in a robotic stroke therapy study. The glove measures the grasp while the user
completes functional movements. The results indicate that the glove is accurate for static handopen and hand-close tasks. In addition, the glove assists in the subjects ability to open their
hand which could not have been done without the device (Nathan, Johnson, & McGuire, 2009).
The use of the subjects limited hand function along with a glove that promotes grasp through
electrical stimulation can provide the individual with the ability to simulate functional tasks and
prevent disuse. There are many ways to improve grasp for individuals who have suffered a
stroke. By using assistive devices in daily occupations, individuals will enhance their overall
performance as well as gain confidence within their environment. Although the Pick n Play
Glove and the Pick-up Pal do not use electrical stimulation, these devices are still handmade and
low cost to continue the use of the impaired hand. These devices focus on the individuals
strengths instead of their impairment to promote the ability to engage in table tennis in its
Occupations such as self-care and functional mobility are important areas for daily living;
however, there are activities that may bring more meaning to an individuals life. In Merediths


case, table tennis has played a large role and in some ways helps define who she is as an
individual. Engagement in meaningful activities can be difficult for individuals who have
experienced a stroke. Based on a qualitative study by Kubina, Dubouloz, Davis, Kessler, and
Egan (2013), rehabilitation practice that supports autonomy, social connection, risk taking,
adaptation, and hope among stroke survivors may help individuals regain personally valued
activities post-stroke (p.236). Incorporating client-centeredness within treatment sessions
provides a deeper understanding of the individuals values and can guide the intervention process
by incorporating occupations as a meas. The individual can be engaged in performing
meaningful movement through valued activities while unconsciously developing or improving
the skills needed for daily occupations.
There are already several devices that are similar to the Pick n Play Glove and the Pickup Pal; however, making these devices were simple and cost efficient. The ability to make an
assistive device for a client allows occupational therapist (OT) to be creative and innovative.
These devices can bring great meaning to the client because it will not only enhance their ability
to perform in a meaningful occupation but allow the client to gain a sense of independence
through the use of assistive devices. With an open mind, there are many ways OTs can help
assist a client engage in their occupations through the use of making assistive devices with
products found in nearby stores.



Kubina, L., Dubouloz, C., Davis, C. G., Kessler, D., & Egan, M. Y. (2013). The process of reengagement in personally valued activities during the two years following
stroke. Disability & Rehabilitation, 35(3), 236-243. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.691936
Nathan, D., Johnson, M., & McGuire, J. (2009). Design and validation of low-cost assistive
glove for hand assessment and therapy during activity of daily living-focused robotic
stroke therapy. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 46(5), 587-602.
National Stroke Association. (2014). What is a stroke? Retrieved from



Table 1
Cost Analysis of the Pick n Play Glove
Weight lifting gloves
Black wicking fabric
Black Velcro
Black thread
Black heavy waistband
Adhesive Tape
Total Cost

Cost Per Item


Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft

Cost Per Item


Lowes Home Improvement
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft

Table 2
Cost Analysis of the Pick-up Pal
4ft. Fluorescent light shiled
Black elastic hair band
Black Velcro
Black heavy waistband
Adhesive tape
Red duct tape
Total Cost
Table 3
Similar Assistive Devices for the Pick n Play Glove
Assistive Device
Grip Assist: H-200

Retrieved from
Grasping Cuff
*unable to provide picture due to



*must request a quote






Table 4
Assistive Device
My Ping Pong Buddy



+ $15.00
= $50.00


Retrieved from
Pong Pal

+ $7.00
= $31.00
Retrieved from http://www.newgy.com/p-196pong-pal.aspx

Figure 1
Pick n Play Glove - Front



Figure 2
Pick n Play Glove - Back

Figure 3
Pick-up Pal - Bottom



Figure 4
Pick-up Pal Top

Figure 5
Pick-up Pal