GyroGlove: New Wearable Glove Steadies Shaking Hands Of Parkinson’s Patients

Posted: Jan 14 2016, 5:29am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Photo credit: MIT

Twenty-six-year-old Faii Ong of the Imperial College London has come up with a wearable device which sufferers of Parkinson’s disease can wear to steady their trembling hands.

Named GyroGlove because it relies on the dynamics of gyroscopes – rotating mechanism in the form of a universally mounted spinning wheel that offers resistance to turns in any direction – the wearable glove makes the shaking hands of Parkinson’s patients to steady down for daily, normal tasks.

Faii Ong developed the idea to create the GyroGlove when he was a 24-year-old medical student posted to care for a 103-year-old Parkinson’s patient. Ong observed that the hands of the patient shook with considerable tremor and she had great difficulty eating a bowl of soup; and since he had been told that drugs had not been too helpful to patients, Ong decided to explore physics to solve the problem.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremor and impaired muscular coordination. The disease affects one in 500 people.

After considering what he could achieve with weights, elastic bands, springs, hydraulics, and even soft robots, Ong settled on gyroscopes – a childhood toy for many kids.

“Mechanical gyroscopes are like spinning tops: they always try to stay upright by conserving angular momentum,” he explained. “My idea was to use gyroscopes to instantaneously and proportionally resist a person’s hand movement, thereby dampening any tremors in the wearer’s hand.”

Together with a number of other young students from ICL, Ong carried out a number of tests in the university’s prototyping laboratory until he fine-tuned his created device, the GyroGlove. It is perhaps the first wearable treatment for steadying hand tremors, and trials showed it reduced hand tremors by as much as 90%.

GyroGlove comes in a simple design which utilizes a miniature but inherently adjustable gyroscope which is placed at the back of the hand in a plastic casing. As soon as it is powered on, the battery-powered gyroscope comes to life.

According to MIT Technology Review, “Its orientation is adjusted by a precession hinge and turntable, both controlled by a small circuit board, thereby pushing back against the wearer’s movements as the gyroscope tries to right itself.”

There is however a problem remaining to be solved before the wearable device goes on sale. “Gyroscopes must be balanced properly according to the speeds at which they are operating,” explained Ong. “Simple as they are, being able to spin them silently and reliably at thousands of RPM is another key challenge.”

The cost of the glove is not known at the moment nor its launching date, but it is hoped to first be released in the UK before September this year for between £400-£600 or $550-$850. After GyroGlove, Ong intends to research into creating steadying devices that will work for leg and body tremors.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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