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Engineer develops robotic glove to help those with a weakened grip3 min read

February 25, 2021 2 min read


Engineer develops robotic glove to help those with a weakened grip3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Age, illness and injuries can cause our muscles to wear out, and losing one’s grip and ability to hold onto things can be an outcome of the above. Imagine trying to hold a bottle of water, and not being able or grasp it.. sounds painful, right?

To help those dealing with this issue, a Scottish biotech startup has invented an Artificial Intelligience-powered robotic glove that helps people recover muscle grip in their hands. Bioliberty, the company, designed the glove for people who suffer from hand weakness, due to age or illnesses such as motor neurone disease and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Engineer Ross O’Hanlon came up with the idea after seeing his aunt suffer from multiple sclerosis – a disease wherein the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord get affected. She was finding it hard to do simple tasks such as drinking water or changing the TV channel, which is when Ross decided to step in and help her, and many others like her. He hopes that this invention will help people like his aunt remain independent. 

How does the robotic glove work? 

The glove detects the wearer’s intention to grip using a process called electromyography (EMT). This measures the electrical  activity which is created in response to a nerve’s stimulation of the muscle.

The prototype of the robotic glove. Pic: Bioliberty

It then uses an algorithm to convert that intention into force, which helps the wearer to hold an item or apply the pressure needed to complete an activity. This technology will help so many people with difficulty in motor function to go about daily tasks such as opening jars, driving and making tea.

O’Hanlon, who is only 24, told BBC, “Being an engineer, I decided to use technology to tackle these challenges head on with the aim of helping people like my aunt to retain their autonomy. We wanted to support independent living and healthy ageing by enabling individuals to live more comfortably in their own homes for longer.”

The company has already developed a working prototype of the glove. The team now plans to use support from Edinburgh Business School’s Incubator to bring the glove into homes.

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

In other recent robot news, Dinesh Patel, a computer science teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya in IIT Powai, has developed a humanoid robot that can speak multiple languages and can be used to answer queries of the students including math problems! Named Shalu, the robot can talk in nine Indian languages and 38 foreign languages! 

Source: BBC, The Next Web, Times of India