Attached to the patient’s hand in what resembles a bionic hand, the device utilises a tiny motor to bend the patient’s middle finger repetitively over a period of 30 seconds. With the objective to measure any muscle stiffness, this is then recorded and can be sent to the patients GP.
A stiff the finger can indicate the more advanced the disease, as muscle stiffness is considered one of the first early warning signs of Parkinson’s.
Dr Thushara Perera, Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute and inventor of the BiRD, said the device not only offers a simple diagnosis in an otherwise complicated condition, but may also one day help monitor patients where they need it most—in their own homes.
“In the future, patients may be able to use the BiRD at home to monitor their own health and provide a report to their doctor, just like a blood glucose monitor for diabetics. This will help their doctor decide how to give the best treatment to their patients, including which medications to administer.”