Unlikely Gadget Tackles Tremor

A new glove designed with mechanical gyroscopes could control tremors in people with Parkinson's disease (PD).

"Gyroscopes are like spinning tops: they always try to stay upright," said Faii Ong, creator of the glove, in MIT Technology Review. When the glove is turned on, the gyroscope tries to right itself and pushes back against a user's hand movements, "thereby dampening any tremors in the wearer's hand."

Ong came up with the idea for the device, called GyroGlove, when he was a medical student caring for a woman with PD. After watching the woman struggle to eat a bowl of soup, Ong decided to search for a solution to the involuntary tremors that make it difficult for people with PD to perform daily tasks, and sometimes lead to self-consciousness and isolation. The glove, which is still in the prototype stage, could help people with Parkinson's overcome these challenges and improve overall wellness.

The glove "uses a miniature, dynamically adjustable gyroscope, which sits on the back of the hand, within a plastic casing attached to the glove's material," explains MIT Technology Review. "When the device is switched on, the battery-powered gyroscope whirs to life."

Sarah Webb, founder of the South London Younger Parkinson's Network, explained GyroGlove's potential to MIT Technology Review. "People with Parkinson's take a cocktail of drugs daily, which over time won't be so effective. The GyroGlove is an exciting and a completely different concept: something we can wear, something we can feel the benefits of immediately and something which will make our lives easier and allow us to get on with our daily lives."

Ong and his team have a few refinements to make to the size of the glove and the noise the gyroscope emits, but are hopeful that it will reach the United Kingdom market before September.

Listen to a podcast about another product working to help people with PD manage tremor.

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