The Royal College of Art
A focused vibrotactile stimulator that improves movement for people with Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting around 145000 people in the UK. It is characterised by the symptoms of bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. Despite optimal medical and surgical interventions many people with Parkinson’s are frustrated as they remain significantly limited in their activities of daily living. This is exacerbated as the symptoms progress with aging. This has a big negative impact on independence, health and quality of life. The MOMENT device aims to improve patients’ movements whilst in their optimised “ON” state and thus increase their capabilities, confidence and quality of life.
Over the past few years products for people with Parkinson’s have been created to help with specific tasks such as writing, walking, and tremor. However these products often fail to penetrate the market and reach the masses as they often end at the prototype stage, have no clinical testing, or are too expensive.
We have made a focused vibrotactile stimulation device prototype that helps people with Parkinson’s perform across multiple motor tasks. This prototype was developed through a series of testing stages using different forms, materials, weights, strengths and waveforms. We also tested different positions for the device to identify the optimal application strategy. Placing it on the patient’s chest did not cause any tremor while maintaining the beneficial effects on stiffness and slowness.
Pilot testing has been carried out on 13 volunteers of people with Parkinson’s who were in different stages of Parkinson’s. When using the device 100% of the participants showed faster movements in hand and walking tasks. The time to complete tasks had been reduced by an average of 16% across all the given movement tasks.
Addition to the statistic result, participants also claimed they felt their movement was smoother, better coordinated, and under more control. We are currently arranging a double-blinded randomised control trial to test the product in a clinical setting.
At the same time we will be carrying out 2-3 week user testing to get further subjective feedback. This will not only include functionality of the device but also usability such as comfort, easy operation, storage and so on.
After the clinical trail and user testing the product will have second stage of refining design and then to be manufactured and distributed worldwide. We aim to make the product safe, easy to use and affordable.
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Focusing on novel solutions that address the Future of Pain our Challenge Accelerator Programme offers a salary replacement to take six-months (full-time) away from the lab to develop a medical technology into a business venture. The programme offers entrepreneurship masterclasses, specialist advice, access to co-working space and an allowance for travel and consumables (up to £45,000).Applications Closed