This university press release highlights the development of a ‘data glove’ by the University of Ulster and C-TRIC in collaboration with the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Tyndall National Institute in Cork. The glove which is fitted with sensitive movement sensors could minimise the time needed for consultation of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
As University of Ulster PhD researcher James Connolly explains, “Data gloves have been used before to measure joint movements but they were not fitted with sufficient sensors on each finger and deformities and swollen joints caused the sensors to record inaccurate readings. The bespoke glove we are developing with Tyndall will give more precise and detailed readings.”
University of Ulster academic Dr Joan Condell adds, “Patients will be able to wear the glove at home and this would allow joint stiffness to be dynamically monitored so the rate of movement of joints at different times of the day can be measured offline from the clinic. This will help quantify and better understand ‘early morning stiffness’ which is almost universal in patients with inflammatory arthritis.”
Although the data glove is being developed with rheumatoid arthritis sufferers in mind, there are many other possible applications of a wearable sensor glove, for example rehabilitation of hand injuries, where accurate clinical measurements are essential.