Gaming console helping kids with cerebral palsy

A new gaming console is proving a hit in helping kids with cerebral palsy regain some of their movement.

Early results show 'Orby' is a success, with trials already underway for people with other disabilities.

Nine-year-old Zashka Gunson, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby, is one of those who has been using the new console.

Her mum Melinda said her condition mainly affects her movement: “it hasn't had any other impact in her life, aside from she trips over a little bit and it effects her arm function”.

But now the sphere-shaped gaming system is helping kids like Zashka move more easily.

This is 'Orby', a newly developed gaming system that is helping kids with cerebral palsy. Photo: 7 News
This is 'Orby', a newly developed gaming system that is helping kids with cerebral palsy. Photo: 7 News

“Most of the shelf gaming systems are difficult to interact with because buttons are small or you have to press multiple buttons at multiple times,” said developer, David Hobbs.

However, 'Orby' is different: it will not work unless both hands are in use.

“We've used gaming technology to motivate them to engage both hands and their brain in computer gaming,” said Mr Hobbs.

It is not just those with cerebral palsy that can get in on the fun.

“There's games where you choose different clothes and there's games where you have to ride cars and biplanes,” said Zashka.

The console is designed in Adelaide and is funded by the Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation and the Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation.

It is already seeing positive results.

Developer David Hobbs said Orby was motivating kids with cerebral palsy to engage both hands and their brain in computer gaming. Photo: 7 News
Developer David Hobbs said Orby was motivating kids with cerebral palsy to engage both hands and their brain in computer gaming. Photo: 7 News

“Parents tended to rate hand-use typically a little bit higher than before,” said Mr Hobbs.

Trials have just begun at Hampstead to see if Orby can benefit those recovering from a stroke. There are also plans to trial it with people who have Parkinson's disease.

And there are plans for 'Orby' to be available in store.

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