- Dana Vishnu K B, Dhanush G A, Kiran S Raj, Siddharth S
Hand tremor influences a huge number of individuals around the world. Tremor is characterized as unintended, cadenced muscle development. Albeit most tremors neither reason serious medical issues nor threaten life, most patients experience many troubles in performing everyday exercises. It is humiliating to numerous individuals, particularly more seasoned people. Tremor negatively affects personal satisfaction and decreases the ability to perform everyday life undertakings such as eating, drinking, writing, and changing clothing. Some patients with mild tremor do not visit doctors if tremor does not hinder their daily life activities. Their situations often worsen over time. There is currently very few to almost no external solution existing to cope with this medical condition.One notable mention would be the existence of Parkinson's spoon, which helps patients suffering from tremors, specifically caused by Parkinson's disease, to eat without any external support from other people. Given this situation, we think that it is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with until a permanent cure is available.
We are targeting people who suffer from all sorts of hand tremors ranging from Essential hand tremors to Parkinson's related hand tremors.
Interviewer: Hello Mr Mukesh, Could you introduce yourself?
Mukesh: Hello Sir, I am Mukesh and I am 28 years old. I had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease by the age of 26. Ever since I have been living in my home with family assistance after resigning from the software development profession in IT industry.
Interviewer: If I may, I assume that you had resigned your job because of this disorder. Am I right? If so, what does stop you? Did you deliberately make the decision or the company decided to fire you?
Mukesh: Yes sir, the reason I resigned my job was due to the disorder. But, it was deliberately my choice. I went back to my job after being diagnosed for about 2 months. But, two things bothered me. One, I was not able to perform my job as I used to. Two, though people in my workplace were supportive, I couldn't overcome the fact that I behaved differently. This built a sense of inferiority in me. So, one fine day, I decided to quit my job.
Interviewer: I am sorry sir. But, it seems that this disorder doesn't stop you from earning a living. What are you doing now for a living?
Mukesh: I now work as an accountant in my family run business. Though my hands shiver, my head doesn't shake, at least for now, so I could calculate! It's hard for me to use a calculator or to write, so I do these tasks slower than others. Anyways, it's a family run business and I can afford to be slow!
Interviewer: You mentioned that your hands do shiver. How did it start? Could you brief me more on that?
Mukesh: Well, I used to be subjected to a lot of stress in my workplace. I have always had this feeling that my nerves pulsate in different parts of my body if I am stressed. Sometimes, I wouldn't be able to speak properly and I would stammer. On one fine morning, when I was 26 years old, both my hands started trembling as I woke up from a night of disturbed sleep. I had a bad workday the previous day. I thought it would stop but then it didn't. So, a day later, I visited a doctor in this (he refers to the place where he stays) locality and after a thorough examination, he diagnosed me with Parkinson's disease. From then on, my hands have been trembling without stopping. From what I know, it would slowly start to affect my other body parts as I age.
Interviewer: Do not worry sir. A cure is being researched and it would come to the market shortly. Until then, are you aware of products in the market that specifically address hand tremors, like Parkinson's spoon? If so, have you tried using it?
Mukesh: Yes sir, my friends from my workplace had previously suggested me about Parkinson's spoon. I was told that the device cost about Rs. 20,000 - Rs.30000, when imported. Also, it had only addressed the problem of eating. I was not ready to spend so much just to eat! Indian dishes such as rice when served in a bowl is perfectly fine for me to eat, though my hands shiver. I would have my wife feed me if I have to eat chappatis! But then, I would love to purchase a device that I could use during my work hours and that would reduce tremors for the work duration. I know there is Parkinson's pen, but that could only be useful when I write. If I want to hand over stuff, then I am back to normal where it becomes hard for me to pick it up and hand it over to the person.
Interviewer: So sir, how would it be if I tell that I and my team are working a glove, which once you wear drastically reduces your hand tremors?
Mukesh: Wow, that would be amazing! But, wouldn't that be bulky and cost a lot?
Interviewer: We would shrink the footprint of the device as much as possible and make the experience similar to wearing a normal glove. Also, we would produce them with technologies available in the market which are mass-produced to cut the cost of making the device. We are working on hardware and a software solution. The software part is mostly done and the hardware needs improvement. Once you wear this glove, your tremors would reduce but the best part is though your hand shivers, you would be able to perform your daily tasks easily. Would you love to purchase such a product?
Mukesh: This is a dream come reality for me! I would love to purchase such a device if it costs less than say Rs.20000. I have to pay my medical bills too. So, this is all I could afford. Also, I have been in an online forum for people who suffer from hand tremors. We spent an entire day discussing a similar product to what you just mentioned. So, I think my friends out there on the internet would purchase it too. This would be the right device that we could use until a permanent cure is available. Is it only available for hands or other body parts too?
Interviewer: As of now, we are only developing to control hand tremors. Later, we might expand the product lineup for other body parts too. I am happy to hear that you would like to use such a product. Thank you for spending your valuable time to provide us with the right information to enhance our product. We are sure that this device will help yourself and another million people who suffer from hand tremors.
Mukesh: No mention, sir! You could contact me to provide feedback during the intermediate stages of your product development.
A typical person with hand tremor loses an average of 4-6 work hours per day. He is unable to perform his daily tasks with confidence and always requires an external support to deal with tasks that require precision. With our solution, we aim to increase his work hours so that he could be more productive and contribute to the betterment of human society. I believe that the user struggles and willingness to purchase our product are detailed well enough in the interview section.
We propose the development of a glove that is able to dynamically conceive the motion of a user's hand and ascertain the difference between intentional movement and unintentional movement. Further, we plan to quantify, verify and attempt to provide a haptic response to the users' fingers with the help of coin electroactive polymers to help counteract the unwanted vibration.
Currently, there are 10 million people in the world affected by Parkinson's. We believe that our product shouldn't just die on the drawing board, but instead should be out there, impacting real lives and we want to play our part in making the world a better place.