A busy, stimulating convention like CES can exacerbate hand tremors for those living with Parkinsons. For Roberta Wilson-Garrett, however, a new wearable device has been helping keep the tremors at bay. Wilson-Garrett has been using the GyroGlove, which launched here at CES 2024. It’s a hand-stabilizing glove designed to “counteract hand tremors by utilizing advanced gyroscopic technology,” giving wearers more control over their mobility.
In the few days she has been wearing the GyroGlove, Wilson-Garrett says she’s been able to perform certain tasks more easily. Things like buttoning up a shirt, moving a cup of coffee around or writing down a note had become easier with the device. One morning, she had forgotten that she didn’t have the glove on and grabbed her coffee, only for her hand to shake and and the drink to spill over.
It’s in little daily activities like that where assistive technology can help give people with disabilities some sense of control and independence again. The current iteration of GyroGlove comprises of three parts: The fabric glove, the gyroscope in the stabilization module and a battery pack on the forearm. Though the company’s reps said they designed the glove to be easy to put on by people with hand tremors, they wanted to help me get the device on. I held my palm out, and a representative slipped the GyroGlove on.
The unit at the booth was too large for me, so my experience wasn’t as effective or accurate. Though I tried to move my hand in a way that might be similar to tremors, I didn’t quite feel any counteracting force or stabilizing effect.
If anything, I just felt like there was a fairly heavy weight on the back of my palm and a constant low whir of the gyroscope spinning inside the module. According to the company’s founder Faii Ong, the gyroscope is spinning at a speed that’s over four times faster than a jet turbine. The device is powered by rechargeable lithium polymer batteries that last about four hours of continuous use, which Wilson-Garrett said was in line with her experience. She also said that she’s heard of some people who manage to get two days out of a charge, if they use the device more intermittently depending on the frequency of their tremors.
The components were designed to be bulky and easy for people with hand tremors to grip and maneuver. Large buttons on the battery pack allow for power control and navigation of the screen on the power unit, which also displays the battery status in large icons and font.
All of these parts are attached to a comfortable harness, which felt stretchy, soft and spongy. The company said the fabric was “benchmarked against top yoga and athleisure brands” and “manufactured by the very same leading manufacturers.” Altogether, the GyroGlove weighs about 580 grams (or about 1.27 pounds), with the stabilization and power modules each coming in at 200 grams.
During my time with the device, I mostly held my hand up awkwardly in mid-air while gesturing at our video producer, and that prolonged strain might explain why the GyroGlove felt more heavy to me. Wilson-Garrett, however, said she found the glove comfortable to wear all day, and I noticed she was using her hand more naturally than I was. It’s likely she had grown more accustomed to the GyroGlove’s weight and presence, and had adapted to it.
Ultimately, I’m not a person who lives with significant hand tremors and had tried on the wrong size of the device, so I cannot really criticize its effectiveness. Wilson-Garrett, who has been living with Parkinson’s disease for at least six years, said she’s happy with it and intends to purchase one.
The GyroGlove is available for sale worldwide for $5,899 (though it’s on sale for $1,000 cheaper for a limited time). Like many assistive devices, that’s a high price that not everyone can pay. Ong said the GyroGlove is registered with the FDA and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as a medical device, and that the company is in talks with insurance providers in the US to consider covering the glove for those who need it. It’s worth noting that GyroGlove is not meant to replace medication or other types of treatment, too.
The company’s reps said it has hopes for future iterations to be smaller and offer more sophisticated stabilization. For now, the fact that GyroGlove is an actual device you can buy (if you have the money for it) is a good sign of its potential ability to help the many people living with hand tremors.
We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/gyroglove-is-a-hand-stabilizing-glove-for-people-with-tremors-223816688.html?src=rss