Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and causes severe tremors, stiffness, and slow movement. So carrying on daily activities like brushing, having coffee and eating with a spoon is quite challenging for people with Parkinson’s. Although there have been many innovations like an electronic stabilising handle by liftware.com and a spoon developed by Gyenno Technologies with sensors and an actuator in the handle to cancel out motion caused by hand tremors in people having Parkinson’s disease. There have also been Neutra spoons to reduce food spillage due to tremors designed by IIT students, Gandhinagar.
Now, class 10 students from Shiv Nadar School, Noida, have developed a device, Dextrabot, a robotic handle to help people with Parkinson’s disease. Six students, Vaidehi Saxena, Madhavi Ojha, Subah Raman, Tvisha Raj, Oorjit Mahajan and Viryansh Rastogi, worked on tackling the issue of hand tremors. As a first step, they conducted an internal online survey and found that 32.9 percent were suffering from the problem of hand tremors or knew someone who faced this issue.
Dextrabot is both inexpensive and effective in handling hand tremors. It enables individuals to perform daily actions like eating, drinking, pouring and brushing with better hand stability.
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‘Dextrabot’ is a gyroscopically stable robotic handle with options for adding various attachments, including a spoon, fork, toothbrush, and more which can help people suffering from essential tremors. This lightweight device stands out for its unique sensory mechanism and is designed using electronics and robotics. The product comes with an ergonomic handle, dual-axis correction, and works on the Arduino Nano (Arduino Nano is a small, compatible open-source electronic development board based on an 8-bit AVR microcontroller) technique which helps control the sensor.
The product was created with input from patients and doctors to ensure that ample input is incorporated in the designing phase. Following thorough research that highlighted the life of people affected by this issue and little interventions available in the market to improve their quality of life, the team aims at catering to this niche group by collaborating with NGOs and old-age homes. The medicine, which is the first and main line of treatment for hand-tremors, is expensive; therefore, this robotic handle aims to make a difference in the lives of affected individuals by offering a lasting and empowering solution.
The innovation was developed under the Capstone Project at Shiv Nadar School, where students are encouraged to ideate and devise economically viable and creative solutions to address real-world problems.
India has seven million elders who have Parkinson’s, and about 70 per cent of patients start experiencing tremors within the early stages of the disease. People also suffer essential hand tremors due to nervous system disorders and strokes. This robotic handle counteracts the problem of hand tremors and restores confidence among the individuals facing challenges in their daily lives with excessive shaking hands.