A busy, stimulating convention like CES can exacerbate hand tremors for those with Parkinson’s disease. For Roberta Wilson-Garrett, a new wearable device has helped prevent aftershocks. Wilson-Garrett uses the GyroGlove, available here At CES 2024. It’s a hand stabilizing glove designed to “counteract hand vibrations using advanced gyroscopic technology,” giving users more control over their mobility.
Within days of wearing the GyroGlove, Wilson-Garrett said she was able to perform certain tasks more easily. Things like buttoning a shirt, carrying a cup of coffee or writing a note have become easier with the device. One morning, he forgot he didn’t have gloves on and picked up his coffee, only for his hand to shake and the drink to spill over him.
It’s in small everyday activities, like how assistive technology can help give people with disabilities some sense of control and independence. The current iteration of the GyroGlove consists of three parts: a cloth glove, a gyroscope in a stabilization module, and a battery pack on top of the arm. Although company representatives said they designed the glove to be easy for people with hand tremors to put on, they wanted help putting the device on. I held up my palm and a representative passed out the GyroGlove.
The section on the stand was too big for me, so my experience was not that effective and accurate. I tried to move my hand in a tremor-like manner, but I felt no counterforce or stabilizing effect.
If anything, I just felt like there was a fairly heavy weight on the back of my palm and the constant low whir of the gyroscope spinning inside the module. According to company founder Faii Ong, the gyroscope spins four times faster than a jet turbine. The device is powered by rechargeable lithium polymer batteries that Wilson-Garrett says last about four hours of continuous use. He also said he’s heard of some people getting two days out of a charge if they use the device more intermittently, depending on their vibration frequency.
The components are bulky and designed to be easy to hold and maneuver for people with hand tremors. Large buttons on the battery pack allow you to control power and navigate the screen on the power pack, which shows the battery status in large icons and font.
All these parts are attached to a comfortable harness that feels flexible, soft and spongy. The company says the fabric “compares to the best yoga and sports brands” and is “produced by the same leading manufacturers.” Overall, the GyroGlove weighs about 580 grams (or about 1.27 pounds), with the stabilization and power modules weighing 200 grams each.
During my time with the device, I mostly held my hand awkwardly up in the air while gesturing to our video producer, and this prolonged tension may explain why the GyroGlove felt heavier on me. Wilson-Garrett, however, said he found the glove comfortable for all-day wear, and I found he used his hand more naturally than I did. It’s likely that he’s more used to and adjusted to the weight and presence of the GyroGlove.
Finally, I’m not someone who lives with significant hand tremors and tried the wrong size device, so I can’t really criticize its effectiveness. Wilson-Garrett, who has lived with Parkinson’s disease for at least six years, said she’s happy with it and intends to get one.
The GyroGlove retails for $5,899 worldwide (although it’s available for $1,000 less for a limited time). Like many assistive devices, this is a high price that not everyone can afford. GyroGlove is registered as a medical device with the FDA and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Ong said, and the company is reviewing coverage with insurance providers in the US for those who need the gloves. It should be noted that GyroGlove is not intended to replace medication or other forms of treatment.
Company representatives said they hope future iterations will be smaller and offer more sophisticated stabilization. For now, the fact that the GyroGlove is an actual device you can buy (if you can afford it) is a good sign of its potential to help many people living with hand tremors.
We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas, January 6-12. Stay up to date with the latest news from the show here.