Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Samhita Rhodes

Second Advisor

Lisa Kenyon

Third Advisor

John Farris


Literature suggests that self-generated locomotion in infancy and early childhood enhances the development of various cognitive processes such as spatial awareness, social interaction, language development and differential attentiveness. Thus, having access to a power mobility device may play a crucial role for the overall development, mental health, and quality of life of children with multiple, severe disabilities who have limited motor control. This study investigates the feasibility of using electroencephalography (EEG) as an objective measure to detect changes in brain activity in a child due to power mobility training. EEG data was collected with a modified wireless neuroheadset using a single-subject A-B-A-B design consisting of two baseline phases (A) and two intervention phases (B). One trial consisted of three different activities during baseline phase; resting condition at the beginning (Resting 1) and at the end (Resting 2) of the trial, interaction with adults, and passive mobility. The intervention phase included a forth activity, the use of power mobility, while power mobility training was performed on another day within the same week of data collection. The EEG spectrum between 2.0 and 12.0 Hz was analyzed for Resting 1 and Resting 2 condition in each phase. We found significant increase of theta power and decrease in alpha power during all three phases following the first baseline. In respect of previous findings, these observations may be related to an increase in alertness and/or anticipation. Analysis of the percentage change from Resting 1 to Resting 2 condition revealed decrease in theta and increasing alpha power during the first intervention phase, which could be associated with increasing cognitive capacity immediately after the use of power mobility. Overall, no significant difference between baseline phase and intervention phase was observed. Thus, whether the observed changes may have been influenced or enhanced by power mobility training remains unclear and warrants further investigation.

Included in

Engineering Commons