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Lightweight gloves use electronic stimulation to reduce Parkinson’s tremors

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Scientists in Thailand have developed lightweight and easy-to-use Parkinson’s gloves that can automatically reduce tremors.

The gloves, created by researchers at Chulalongkorn University, enable Parkinson’s patients to enjoy their social lives without the side effects associated with medication.

Many patients rely on a cocktail of drugs to control their tremors. However, these are rarely able to stop tremors altogether.

Patients whose tremors are particularly strong may also need brain surgery, which comes with its own undesirable side-effects.

Now, a team of researchers from the university’s Faculty of Medicine has developed tremor measuring and reducing gloves that harness electrical muscle stimulation technology.

The gloves are lightweight, easy to wear and effective and cheaper than similar devices imported from elsewhere.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Onanong, said: “The tremor-reducing Parkinson’s gloves are the first medical device that can help reduce tremors in the hands of PD patients through automatic electric stimulation of the hand muscles.

“We hope this will help reduce the tremors for the patients without having to increase the dosage of their medication unnecessarily and reduce the risk of brain surgery.”

The gloves work by combining two systems.

Firstly, an accelerometer and a gyroscope accurately detect and measuring Parkinson’s tremors at 4.z hertz.

And when the sensors detect Parkinson’s-specific tremors, they will transmit a signal via Bluetooth to the muscle stimulator to release an electric current that reduces the tremors.

The gloves were awarded the National Innovation Award in Society and Environment (Private Sector) 2022 from the National Innovation Agency.

The researchers added: “In the future, the team plans to develop the gloves to be smaller and better looking.

“They won’t look like a medical device, but more like an accessory or part of the outfit.

“Still, they will retain the efficiency in reducing tremors, the stability of electrical current, and the ease of data upload.

“More development will include detection and reduction of tremors in other parts of the body, such as the legs, as well as tremors stemming from other diseases.”

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