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Google Glass tackles challenges of Parkinson's

Ken Booth who has Parkinson's and took part in the Google Glass research

Google Glass - a type of wearable technology - is being trialled for the first time to find out if it could support people living with Parkinson's.

A research team based at Newcastle University are investigating Google Glass as an assistive aid to help people with the condition remain independent for longer.

What is Google Glass?

Glass is a wearable computer currently being developed by Google that displays information on the lens of the Glass. The device is voice-operated and linked to the Internet.

The Glass has potential to remind people with Parkinson's to take their medication, contact relatives in an emergency and could even help overcome freezing.

What are the researchers doing?

Google Glass is not currently available in the UK. But Google donated 5 pairs to Newcastle University so they could test how useful they could be to support people with long-term conditions such as Parkinson's.

Google Glass is an exciting example of how new technologies could be used to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson's.

The researchers have been working with a group of people with Parkinson's aged between 46-70 years to assess the acceptability of Glass.

The next stage of the project is to use the Glass to provide discreet prompts.

This may help to tackle some of challenges people with Parkinson's face - such as reminding them to take their medication, speak up or swallow to prevent drooling.

The team will also be exploring how the motion sensors in Glass could be used to help people with Parkinson's overcome freezing.

How could the Glass help people with Parkinson's in the future?

Claire Bale, Research Communications Manager at Parkinson's UK, comments:

"This new study looking into Google Glass is an exciting example of how new technologies could be used to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson's by tackling a wide variety of problems - from freezing to remembering to take their medication on time.

"But to really make the most of the potential of new technologies it's essential that researchers work in partnership with the real experts in the condition - people living with Parkinson's.

"Only people with the condition can tell us if these new approaches will genuinely improve their lives in meaningful and realistic ways."

More about Google Glass

Google Glass

Newcastle University press release: Google Glass puts the focus on Parkinson's

The Telegraph: How Google Glass is helping Parkinson's sufferers

Daily Mail: Could Google Glass help people with Parkinson's stay independent