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Researchers See If Google Glass Can Help Parkinson's Patients

By ABC News

April 11, 2014

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Newcastle University researchers are experimenting with Google Glass to see if it can assist Parkinson's disease patients in monitoring their symptoms and increasing their mobility.

One participant, Parkinson's sufferer Lynn Tearse, says the voice-activated device is especially helpful in situations in which handling a phone manually is impossible. "[Google Glass] was something I was genuinely interested in," she reports. "You can take a photograph and take a video and search the Internet. You can make a call and send a text."

Tearse also finds Google Glass' monitoring functions appealing. "If you can sync your Google Glass with your computer at home, it can be streamed through to a loved one at home," she notes. "Keep an eye on and make you feel reassured."

Newcastle researcher Roisin McNaney says many users liked the vocal operation feature, because it could enable them to call for assistance in case their symptoms render them immobile.

Study co-author John Vines says small sensors in Google Glass' computer could measure eye and head motion and notify users if their symptoms become exacerbated so they can either take more medication or go to a safe place before their symptoms get worse.

The researchers will detail their findings this month at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto.

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