AH Google Glass

Google Glass Assists People With Parkinson’s Via App

June 10, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

The uses for Google Glass span a fairly wide range as it’s been seen used within plenty of industries for many different things since it was released. In its first iteration, most users might agree that Google Glass wasn’t quite where it needed to be with the Explorer program which offered people the chance to be an early adopter of the wearable. For mainstream it just isn’t ready. It’s found a nice little home though in multiple avenues, from hospitals to assist in patient information gathering while being hands-free, to teaching students in class at a university. It’s also gained quite a bit of attention from some people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease as a useful tool in their daily lives.

One early adopter named Joy Esterburg now uses Google Glass to help her when she’s out walking. Esterburg admits that she sometimes has trouble keeping a steady pace when walking, an unfortunate side effect of her PD, which constricts movement, but that she can eventually overcome the feeling of slowness by watching other people walking at a more normal pace. This is where Google Glass comes in, as she uses an app which displays a person walking in front of her at a varied pace set at any one of four different speeds. Being able to view this through Glass even when there is no one else around can help keep Esterburg from slowing down, or to restart movement again.

The app used by Esterburg and many others is called Moving Through Glass, which is currently in the early stages and is being used to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. It offers a range of different exercises designed to help people living with PD get moving again using simple commands like “Ok Glass, Walk With Me” or “OK Glass, Warm Me Up.” The varied set of exercises are meant to provide unique assistance leading up to movement and walking. The app was created by the Mark Morris Dance Group, who also started a free dance program (called Dance for PD) for people living with Parkinson’s thanks to the help of a $25,000 Google grant to get the program up and running. Moving Through Glass provides four different exercises in all, including a morning routine aimed at stimulating movement, as well as routines for balance, walking, and unfreezing. Google Glass may seem like just an expensive piece of tech to many people, but for the individuals like Joy Esterburg, it’s much more than that, it’s a way for her to regain control of her movement and enhance her lifestyle.