Wearable Hand Device Helps Parkinson’s Patients Write and Draw Again

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a debilitating disease of the Central Nervous System that causes a gradual deterioration of the patient’s movements and control over their bodies. Over time, a PD patient will begin to experience tremors in their hands, difficulties in walking, muscle rigidity and other symptoms.

Shakiness, especially in the hands, can be a very disheartening disability for many PD sufferers as it limits their daily functions, making it challenging to work and perform simple tasks. For many, this isn’t only something that plunges them into despair, but it may mean the loss of jobs and an independent life.

For some time now, several inventions have been developed to help PD sufferers get some of their hand functions back. One of these are spoons developed by several companies that vibrate in opposition to the shakiness of the hands, providing a neutralizing effect and steadying the hand. This spoon allows those with hand tremors to feed themselves and not have to depend on others to feed them.

The principle of using vibrations to steady the hand of PD sufferers is now being applied to other functions and not just a spoon for self-feeding. In 2017, a wearable glove called the GyroGlove will finally go into commercial production, after several years of testing and developing prototypes.

The glove depends on a device called a gyroscope, which spins extremely fast, thereby staying upright, providing angular momentum which is a physical resistance to the tremors, thereby reducing involuntary movement. The device has been put through vigorous testing and improvements have been made to its design, making it comfortable to wear and durable too.

GyroGlove is the brainchild of Dr. Faii Ong, who was inspired to create this glove after watching one of his patients struggle with severe hand tremors. It became so bad that the elderly patient actually lost weight after not being able to eat properly. Dr. Ong’s desire to help PD patients drove him to talk to his friends at the Imperial College in London who had engineering backgrounds and they began to explore various options.

Dr. Ong credits the amazing team of designers, engineers, medical consultants and scientists behind GyroGlove for being the driving force of the glove’s efficacy. It lab testing sessions, a GyroGlove that is calibrated for severe hand tremors has been shown to reduce shaking by up to 75% or more. The device can also be adjusted to cope with the severity of the hand tremors experienced by the patient.
This is extremely good news for PD patients worldwide, who will be able to purchase this product by the third quarter of 2017. It could spell the return to normal life, especially for those who depend a lot on their hands to write or draw to earn a living. It also means that many PD patients can now live independently and take care of themselves again.

As of March 2017, Gyro Glove has entered its final testing phase and is expected to hit shelves as early as September 2017. The price-tag is surprisingly reasonable, costing only USD 550 to USD 850 per glove. The team is right now focusing on correcting minor details such as the size of the glove and how to minimize the noise produced by the whirring gyroscope.

The GyroGlove’s simple design of a spinning disc encased in a flat circular contraption pushing down on the tremors of the hand is bound to appeal to many people. This simple and lightweight solution will no doubt open doors for many more wearable solutions to be developed in the future, for the correction of physically debilitating effects.

Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advice. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.

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