Klick Labs, which calls itself a digital healthcare innovation lab, unveiled the SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device that can wirelessly record and transmit patient tremors in real time. This in turn could help improve care for the more than 40 million people living with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease in the U.S. alone.
Unlike other inventions that attempt to replicate tremors via mechanical vibrations, the SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device records continuous electromyogram data from the patient and wirelessly transmits it via Bluetooth to a custom-engineered electrical muscle stimulation armband for non-patients. The patent-pending, experiential device induces involuntary muscle activity, which mimics patient tremors in real time, and enables physicians and family members to experience the difficulties of seemingly simple tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or using a mobile phone.
"We are extremely encouraged about our work in technology-mediated symptom transference, which we call tele-empathy, to help make healthcare more patient-centric," Yan Fossat, VP of Klick Labs, said in a statement. "The SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device records and transmits patient tremors as data to give movement disorder physicians and caregivers a sense of what their patient or loved one is experiencing in real time."
Beyond increased empathy, the future versions of the device could also be used for telemedicine. "We envision patients being able to transmit their tremors to physicians anywhere in the world to get more accurate diagnoses and better treatment," Fossat explained.
Additionally, the company is also exploring adding support for other types of disease and condition symptoms, including symptom transference for diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, in 2005 more than 40 million Americans (nearly one in seven people) were affected by a movement disorder, including tremor, Parkinson's, Tourette's syndrome, dystonia, and spasticity.