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Interactive tech spurs kids in rehab

“What’s under the leaves, Dean? Let’s see what’s under the leaves!”

“What’s under the leaves, Dean? Let’s see what’s under the leaves!”

Six-year-old Dean Kopfensteiner, who has cerebral palsy, was cheered on by his dad, Barry, as he made his way across an 80-inch diagonal floor display at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital yesterday.

As Dean moved, virtual leaves would clear away as they would if he was walking through them on a sidewalk.

In the end, an image of the transformer Butterfly was revealed on the floor.

The technology, which arrived last month, is called the Cube.

“It has motion-sensing devices,” explained Darrell Goertzen, technology service leader at the hospital. “It figures out where your feet are, and it changes the image.”

Dean had surgery six weeks ago to strengthen tendons in order to give him a greater range of leg motion.

His physical therapist, Tracy Sullivan, said she’s already seen an improvement in the quality of Dean’s walking as well as his endurance since using the Cube — and he hasn’t been the only child to benefit.

“They have more motivation to walk or do what they’re doing,” she said. “Most can go longer when they’re more engaged.”

 
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