Greetings! My first post here, was hoping to seek some help on this forum. I’m a bit of a techdad, with a daughter who has a minor condition that I wish to try to correct with the help of Arduino.
To explain the situation in the shortest way I can (apologies for the length though) - my 7 year old daughter is an idiopathic toe walker. Without having to google/youtube it, what that simply means is she walks on tip toes, but is able to walk normally on her heels if told/reminded. When at home where we can observe her, we are able to remind her to “walk flat” so she does it. However when in school, we cannot be there to remind her, so she walks on her toes. There are a lot of topics to discuss on idiopathic toe walking, such as casts being worn to prevent the behavior, surgery of the Achilles tendons, etc. but I am fully aware that this is not the proper forum to bore anyone with that. Plus, I’d like to try the unobtrusive method - the way I see it, no parent would like to see their child walking around in casts, much less undergo surgery for a behavorial pattern that can be resolved. True, there are toe walkers who unfortunately need to undergo these treatments, but in my daughter’s case, it is a simple behavioral modification that needs to be enforced for the greater part of everyday – unfortunately that greater part of everyday is spent in school where we cannot be present to encourage her to walk flat.
Now there are some basic vibrating watches out there (http://bedwettingstore.com/medose-vibrating-watch.html) that you can set to vibrate at certain preset intervals or via a countdown timer. The vibration can serve as a reminder for her to walk flat. I’ve thought of using this, however, since the vibrating alarms are dependent on time, I do not want the watch to vibrate when she is sitting down, listening to the teacher in class. Those unwanted frequent vibrations could potentially allow her to “ignore” the alarms, even when she is actually walking. Sort of a “boy who cried wolf” scenario.
Hence the Arduino. I was thinking of using a small Arduino board that configured in such a way with a couple of small accelerometers (MEMS?) for the X/Y axis which will detect a continuous up/down/forward/back motion (the natural motion induced by a stride/walk) then if it detects such motion, it can trigger a little vibrating motor every few seconds, which essentially can remind her to walk flat. And obviously if she is just sitting down listening to the teacher, the accelerometers will not detect any constant movement, so the vibrating alarms can be put on hold – until it detects the movement again.
As experienced developers for Arduino, I would like to ask if this is possible?
If it is, I would like to try get an Arduino board and the necessary hardware. I believe there are several types of Arduino boards, so the smaller it is, the better as this will be a portable device, that can hopefully be carried in a little package which includes the power source (perhaps 1 or 2 AA batteries, like a pager?)
Please be aware that I am no means a developer, but I am very willing to learn and do this for my daughter. The only “coding” that I know (and light at that) are HTML and a bit of SQL experience from previous jobs, but that’s as far I know – hopefully just for now.
I would truly appreciate any information that can be shared to me.
Kind regards, Shaun