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Technology gives people with chronic illnesses greater independence.

Researchers from Newcastle University’s Digital Interaction Group in the UK are currently working on a way that Google Glass could be used to slow the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Not only could the technology provide people with greater independence, but it would help mitigate the symptoms that they experience every day.

Working with a group of Parkinson’s volunteers aged between 46-70 years, the team are using the technology to provide discreet prompts linked to key behaviours typical of Parkinson’s. Reminding the individual to speak up, or swallow to prevent drooling, are prime examples. Glass can also be used as a personal reminder for things such as medication and appointments.

“People with Parkinson’s are already coping with so much and one of the main causes of social isolation is the stigma around behaviours such as drooling and tremor which they have no control over,” explains Roisin McNaney, a speech and language therapist studying for her PhD at the university.



A similar project to the Parkinson’s aid was created by Seattle-based tech product design and development company Artefact. It’s calledDialog, and helps people with epilepsy figure out what triggers their seizures, and therefore, how best to deal with the condition. Even though Google Glass still hasn’t been released yet, it’s clear there is huge potential for ideas that help monitor and treat all sorts of physical, and mental illnesses.

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Newcastle University

Images: Wilbert Baan via Flickr, Artefact

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