While the the Google Glass Explorer Program hasn't yet reached British shores, Google has begun gifting trial versions of the connected eyewear to various organizations around the world ahead. One of the first institutions to get hold of Glass was the UK's Newcastle University, which used its five devices as part of a program to help Parkinson's disease sufferers.

The program aimed to allow Parkinson's sufferers to retain more independence for longer using Glass's online connectivity, sensors and voice-based features. Using specially designed apps, the team at Newcastle was able to let Glass show customized alerts notifying users of upcoming medical appointments, and when they should take medication — Parkinsons sufferers often have to take many different kinds of medication at various time throughout the day.

Prompts are also shown at regular intervals reminding the volunteers to speak or swallow to prevent drooling. And Glass's motion sensors and display helped sufferers deal with "freezing," a symptom of the illness, by showing visual cues. Volunteers also benefitted from Glass's voice-activated features, which allowed them to call friends, family members or carers without having to use a small, fiddly handset.

It's still early days for Google Glass, and many questions remain around future use cases for the device. But Newcastle University's recent efforts demonstrate Glass's potential beyond being merely an extension of your smartphone. You'll find more details in the video above.

Source: Newcastle University; via: Engadget


Reader comments

UK university uses Google Glass to help Parkinson's sufferers


Great post. I can see the potential of other types of wearable technology to also provide assistance to people with disabilities. For example, a smartwatch could be set up to provide reminders to take meds and, depending on the watch, to take phone calls. Less dramatic than Glass maybe, but also a lot less expensive.

A regular watch can also be set to do those things. For one, it's not as obtrusive a reminder, which obtrusiveness is a good thing in many cases such as this, second, that's a small part if what Glass was being used for.

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Not sure the people with Parkinson's consider themselves "sufferers", but interesting concept.

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How many people have you known with Parkinson's? "Sufferer" is definitely an apt choice of word, it's a horrible, debilitating disease.

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As a person with disabilities, I am very much liking the trend of smart devices helping us maneuver in society a little better.

And to the negative commentors, make sure you check all safety features when you work with heavy equipment and look both ways when crossing the street.
You never know who's not paying attention, and could actually turn you into me.

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i'd like to stay positive, but couldn't this video be instead typed out? no footage of Glass or a person with Parkinson's.
Seems to me like a waste of time to record a hypothesis from students. those are 2 minutes i'm never getting back.

Because that precious two minutes would have been spent on your own work to help Parkinson's disease research? You could always save the two minutes spent on the whiny post and call it a wash.

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