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First UK Google Glass trial gives Parkinson's sufferers more independence

Matt Brian, @m4tt
04.09.14
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Before Glass becomes a publicly available product, Google's quietly embarked on a campaign to get its iconic eyewear into the hands of those who can use it to tackle complex issues. After it gifted five pairs to researchers at Newcastle University, Google's allowed its wearable to undergo its first UK medical trial, where it's being used to support people suffering from Parkinson's disease. Researchers want to help patients live more independently, and they're already seeing results.

With custom apps, experts have tuned Glass to provide subtle alerts reminding volunteers to take their medication and notify them of upcoming medical appointments. Sufferers are also prompted to speak or swallow to prevent drooling. Glass' motion sensors are put to good use too, preventing patients from "freezing" by displaying visual cues to help them unblock their brain and regain a flow of a movement. Researchers say the project is still in its early stages, but they're already looking to develop a variety of apps to match the specific needs of volunteers. While Glass faces an uphill struggle to gain social acceptance, its philanthropic uses are showing no bounds.

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