If you’ve ever been curious about how accurate your hand-eye co-ordination is, a team of optometrists at UNSW have created an app to test your ability.
All you need to do is trace colourful shapes with a stylus pen in a fun games-like manner and the app automatically records how long it takes you to complete each shape and the number of tracing errors. It’s a cheap and more objective testing option for optometrists and other health professionals than any other available method.
Good eye-hand coordination – using visual information to produce the desired fine hand movements – is important for many aspects of life, such as writing and positioning objects carefully. Testing is often carried out to detect developmental disorders in children, or after brain trauma in adults.
Traditional ways to test eye-hand coordination include tasks that are repetitive but rather dull, such as putting pegs in holes or threading beads.
Previously there has been no simple way to establish this visual deficit apart from the usual visual acuity loss in people with amblyopia (lazy eye).
“Our new UNSW app has the advantages that it is cost effective, provides precise measurements and is very portable. And both kids and adults say it is fun to use,” UNSW Associate Professor Barbara Junghans said.
“Importantly, we also have preliminary evidence of poorer performance in people with amblyopia, or lazy eye, where the vision in one eye is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly.”
“Compared with other testing methods, the app also has the benefit that it does not involve the use of gross arm movements and so focuses on coordination of the fine motor movements of the fingers and hand.”
The app’s repeatability and the mathematical degrees of difficulty for the various levels have been officially verified in a study on adults and children published in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.
The app is expected to be useful for optometrists, especially those working with children and in the areas of sports vision, rehabilitation and neuro-optometry, as well as for ophthalmologists, orthoptists, paediatricians, neurologists, psychologists, rehabilitation specialists and remedial educationalists.
But if you’re just interested in seeing how your hand-eye coordination measures up, (out of sheer curiosity!) it’ll only cost you $2.99.
To find the app, just click here.