Parkinson’s disease or PD plagues millions of people worldwide with a million victims in the US alone. It is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that mostly affects people over the age of 50. The main symptoms of this disease, the tremors of hands and feet greatly reduce the quality of life among the affected ones, especially in later stages. Due to the tremors caused by malfunctioning motor joins, the patients often are unable to feed, drink or take care of the basic actions of daily life. But thanks to a gyroscopic glove called the “Gyroglove”, this may all change soon and Parkinson’s patients may get back the basic quality of life they crave for.
Led by Faii Ong of MIT, a group of medics, engineers and designers have created this glove which has won the inaugural F-factor prize of 10,000 Pounds. The “Gyroglove” is a wearable device that stabilizes the hand against tremors. It responds to the tremors or spontaneous movements caused by the disease and counteracts with gyroscope movement that acts towards stabilising the hand. The device uses 2 gyroscopes that are akin to the control moment gyroscopes used at International Space Station. These gyroscopes create an effect that feels like dipping the hand into ‘thick syrup’. The hand movements are free even for patients suffering from advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease.
In order to make the device wearable for elderlies, special care has been taken to make it lightweight. According to studies and reports, the device is able to counterbalance tremors up to 90%. Efforts are being made to make it even lighter and reduce the whirring noise it makes while in action. The entry price for this device is estimated at 700 USD once mass production begins.