Augmented reality glasses could help Parkinson's patients get around better

·2-min read
GaitAR's augmented reality 'walking glasses' could help Parkinson's patients get around better.

For several years, Scottish company GaitAR has been working on the design of visual tracking systems for people with Parkinson's disease. The result of their labors now take the form of a pair of augmented reality glasses, set to be on the market this summer.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the destruction of specific neurons involved in controlling movements. These glasses use Activelook augmented reality technology, developed by French company Microoled, designed for a range of applications involving movement.

In this use case, the glasses help set up a visual reference in order to help patients move correctly, without loss of balance. The glasses project a "marker" in the user's field of vision, in order to indicate the trajectory they should follow, as well as a visual reference in the form of a hologram appearing at a distance of three meters in front of the user, with the aim of improving the user's posture and balance.

In fact the glasses bring augmented reality to the proven method of visual cueing, which consists of tracing a path on the ground in front of the patient using markers as well as pieces of tape on occasion. The aim here is to stimulate the brain, produce dopamine and help the patient to walk as smoothly as possible.

A preliminary study has already been conducted by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, with people with Parkinson's disease. Five of the seven participants reported improvements after wearing the glasses, particularly in balance as well as confidence.

In addition to improving the movement of individuals suffering from Parkinson's, these glasses are also intended to help them maintain an active social life, by allowing them to leave their homes safely.

Pre-orders are already open on the GaitAR site; the glasses should be released during the summer of 2022, at a price of 2000 pounds, around US$2475.

Check out a video of the glasses being tested: https://youtu.be/gW3OJfS7CcY

David Bénard

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