Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How to make a Mirror Box

We sometimes get asked how to make a mirror box. There are a few on the market including the NOI version, but you can make your own. A beer carton with a cheap mirror on the side could be used, but it is worth going that bit extra as the quality probably affects the outcome and it is likely that it will have to be used for at least a few weeks. The mirror boxes used in research are often large and wooden, but all you need is a box to hide the affected limb and a mirror.

The mirror first – get a good quality perspex one, not glass for safety reasons. It should be at least 30x25 cm so you can get the patients face in the mirror as well as their hands. It is important that the mirror must not buckle otherwise a distorted image will be provided – remember the convex and concave effects of mirror at the local fair. If the mirror can be unattached from the box, or the box is collapsible, even better – this means that you can then use it for the feet.

Make the box a fairly neutral colour – you don’t want to draw attention to it. A material such as corflute makes it easy to clean (patients often sweat in mirror boxes). Make it open at both ends to give the perception that the limb is just hidden and not in some container. Finally, the mirror box should be easily collapsible. It is likely that it will be taken to work, home and on holidays.

Having gone through all that, you may wish to just buy one.