Google Glass for Parkinson’s Disease

How can an emerging technology like Google Glass help people with Parkinson’s Disease? Google Glass is an wearable computer styled in a similar way to a pair of spectacles, which provides the user with a head-mounted camera, illuminated display and access to a range of applications. Researchers at Newcastle University are investigating how its features can offer support to sufferers of Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological condition which affects up to 10 million people worldwide. Parkinson’s affects motor skills, causing rigidity, tremors and slowness of movement and impacting a person’s balance and gait as well as arm and face movements. While this limits their ability to hold or operate a mobile phone, the head-mounted Glass device could give them access to technology that could help them manage their condition. This includes sensors measuring head and eye movement, a microphone to pick up ambient sound, a front-facing camera to record surroundings, and a display to provide notifications such as medication reminders. The team are developing a range of applications which will enable users to retain balance and walk at a comfortable pace, and are holding workshops to allow people to capture their experiences with the new technology. A paper on the initial findings of the project noted that Glass made users feel more confident and safe, although there were other concerns about dependency on technology. It won the Best Paper award at the 2014 ACM CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems conference in Toronto.

Contact Us

Roisin McNaney (r.mcnaney@ncl.ac.uk)
John Vines (john.vines@newcastle.ac.uk)
Daniel Roggen (daniel.roggen@newcastle.ac.uk)
Madeline Balaam (madeline.balaam@ncl.ac.uk)
Pengfei Zhang (pengfei.zhang@ncl.ac.uk)
Ivan Poliakov (ivan.poliakov@ncl.ac.uk)
Patrick Olivier (patrick.olivier@ncl.ac.uk)

For more information on this project see:
http://di.ncl.ac.uk/projects/google-glass-pd/
http://di.ncl.ac.uk/publications/McNaney_et_al_AcceptabilityGlassParkinsons.pdf

Press Coverage:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/google-glass-puts-the-focus-on-parkinson-s
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10752873/How-Google-Glass-is-helping-Parkinsons-sufferers.html
http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/news/9-april-2014/google-glass-tackles-challenges-parkinsons
http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/mobile-devices/google-glass-for-parkinsons-10-findings/d/d-id/1204319
http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/google-glass-proves-helpful-to-people-with-parkinsons/
http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/google-glass-parkinsons-disease/
http://www.pmlive.com/blogs/digital_intelligence/archive/2014/april/google_glass_enters_parkinsons_trials

Publications:
http://di.ncl.ac.uk/publications/McNaney_et_al_AcceptabilityGlassParkinsons.pdf