Robotic glove powers up paralyzed hands
If someone is lacking a hand, a prosthetic appendage can help them perform basic daily tasks. However, what if they've still got both hands, but one of them is paralyzed? Well, that's where NeoMano is designed to come in.
Designed by Korean startup Neofect, the NeoMano system consists of three parts.
First of all, there's a motorized partial glove that covers the thumb and first two fingers of the affected hand. This is hard-wired to a power pack, which is in turn attached to an adjustable band that's worn on the forearm. Finally, there's a Bluetooth remote control unit – it can be held in the other hand, placed on a surface such as a desktop, or mounted on the upper arm using another band.
When users wish to grasp an object, they simply press the "Grip" button on the remote. Doing so activates the glove's motor, which winds in two wires that run along the underside of the glove's fingers. This applies underside tension to the fingers, drawing them closed around the target object.
The longer the button is held down, the tighter the grip becomes. A subsequent press of the remote's Release button releases the wires, when it's time to let go of the item.
According to the company, the system allows users to perform tasks such as drinking cups of water; grasping knives, forks and spoons; brushing their teeth; and turning doorknobs. When the glove needs to be cleaned, its magnetically-attached motor unit can be easily removed.
A rep tells us that Neofect has already successfully crowdfunded one batch of NeoManos, which were shipped to backers last month. A second batch is now the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where a pledge of US$599 is required for a single setup. Assuming this latest run also reaches production, it should ship in June. The planned retail price is $1,999.