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Gyroscopic Technology Could Help Treat Hand Tremors

ByJulia DavisNOVA NextNOVA Next

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For years, doctors have turned to an array of drugs to combat the hand tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, as well as many other illnesses. But a new solution to calm tremors is in the works, and it uses physics rather than the cocktail of drugs that many Parkinson’s patients are used to taking.

Faii Ong, a student at Imperial College London, has created a prototype for a device he calls the GyroGlove. The glove uses gyroscopic technology to resist tremors by pushing back with a force to balance out the tremors as they happen, leading to smoother movement.

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Gyroscope
Gyroscopes are also used in children’s toys.

Here’s Grennan Milliken reporting for Popular Science:

Worn on the hand, the device stabilizes tremors with a gyroscope. This spinning disc—used in both aerospace technology and children’s toys—maintains an upright position, even when pushed. So when the hand shakes, tilting the gyroscope, the disc will resist the force attempting to knock it over.

Initial testing on the glove reduced tremors by more than 80 percent. Wearers compare wearing the glove to sticking their hand in syrup—movement is slowed down but not restricted.

This technology could revolutionize treatment for millions of people. Parkinson’s affects 10 million people globally, but an additional 200 million suffer from essential tremor, a nervous system disorder which causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking.

Benefits could reach outside the realm of disease treatment, too. GyroGlove could be useful in anyone in a profession requiring steady hands, such as surgeons and photographers.

The glove is currently in testing phases, but the company aims to start taking orders before the end of 2016, and begin shipping in early 2017, according to their website.