Innovation for Independence

Portable smart anti-hand tremor device “Shake Off” (working name).

Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 2:24pm
Last updated:
16/01/2015 - 2:24pm
Author:
Jeff Francis

A tremor is an involuntary, somewhat rhythmic, muscle contraction and relaxation involving to-and-fro movements (oscillations or twitching) of one or more body parts. It is the most common of all involuntary movements and can affect the hands, arms, eyes, face, head, vocal folds, trunk, and legs. Most tremors occur in the hands. In some people, tremor is a symptom of another neurological disorder. Tremor sufferers lose confidence by their disability, often feeling left out in society. Treatment is more often by medication. Our original idea relates to hand tremors initially, to develop a smart device that fits around the hand and reacts in such a way to minimise and dampen the individual’s tremors by more than 90%. The system will quickly learn the individual’s tremor signature and then accurately react so as to dampen the tremors. ShakeOff will adapt well established, proven principles of biomechanical loading to reduce tremor. It will be uninvasive and the technologies used will allow for significant improvements in solution size and tremor reduction. In addition to neurological examination, ShakeOff will be able to assess an individual’s tremor signature more accurately than anything currently available in the marketplace. This data can be collected anonymously for research.

Insight & Impact

The idea initially came about when a family member started to tremor uncontrollably as a result to changes in medication. The changes were apparent in a matter of weeks and the hand tremors meant that simple activities such as writing, preparing food, applying make-up etc. became difficult. In addition, she become reclusive and depressed. A change in medication did however reduce the tremoring significantly. Many individuals suffer these tremors and they suffer not only physically but psychologically. In the last year I have been looking into this fascinating area and shocked by the attitude of many GPs and medical professionals. Sufferers are often told that “it comes with age” and “just one of those things”. In my experience, tremors are in part caused by medication and medication is often the only solution available. ShakeOff has the potential to improve the quality and confidence of tens of thousands of lives and gives rise to the possibility of an orthotic management of tremors. Drawbacks of current mechanical management of tremors area: (1) The resulting solutions are bulky (2) The inefficiency and current limitations in transmitting loads (3) Technological limitations in terms of actuator technologies and (4) Costs ShakeOff overcomes these issues.

Skills needed for this project

  • learning machine algorithms
  • access to a Fab Lab in Cardiff to develop the hardware with Raspberry Pie and Arduino technology technologies
  • protecting IP
  • getting this sort of medical product to market in an efficient and compelling way

Please add a comment here....

Comments

Lisa Reith's picture
I have a essential tremor myself and found this project while searching for current developments in the area of my disability. I was wondering how far you are in your process. I wasn't able to find any other developments around this idea or find any other websites which could give me more insights in this product.