The University of Southampton

New portable kit will assess impaired hands

Published: 18 June 2009

A portable test to enable fast scientific online assessment of hand function has just been launched by academics at the University of Southampton.

After several years' development, Dr Cheryl Metcalf of the University's School of Health Sciences, working with the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) has launched SHAP, the Southampton Hand Assessment Procedure.

SHAP is a test which contains 26 activity tasks (such as opening jars and pouring from cartons) in order to enable an assessment of hand function.

The idea is that individuals can undertake the tasks in the test through the web site and use the online assessment tool to enter their times and receive an assessment of hand function.

'SHAP is providing a modern forum and a much more customer-focused way of approaching hand function assessment,’ said Dr Metcalf. 'This is the first test that has an interactive online presence which is easy to use and means that people don't have to study maths equations - they just enter their times and get their scores.’

The original SHAP kit was validated at the University in 2002. Originally developed to assess the effectiveness of upper limb prostheses, an area in which ECS has a strong research interest, the SHAP has now been applied to assessments of musculoskeletal and neurological impairment, with further trials expected on users of prosthetics in the next year.

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