Posture Protect aims to help the posture of people with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
In a report this week here from Pittwire Health, part of the University of Pittsburgh, a pair of bio-engineering seniors have been building a posture device (Posture Protect). It aims to alert people with movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when they’re holding poor posture. Poor posture can be a result of Parkinson’s Disease, and can cause more pain and more restricted movements, both of which are a problem with the disease anyway.
The vest-like device, Posture Protect, vibrates and shows a red light on the shoulder when people are bending forwards.
The project engineers Jacob Meadows and Tyler Bray hope to create a product that’s unobtrusive, preventing unwanted attention. Having obvious aids visible to other people is something that can really put people off from wearing useful aids. Just think about hearing aids – people are desperate to avoid being seen with large or clunky hearing aids, so Posture Protect has hit the nail on the head when it comes to easy adoption of their tool. I have to wonder though, sometimes, when we wear smartwatches to run that are obviously designed as smartwatches for running. Maybe it’s because people are keen to avoid drawing attention to disability whilst also being keen to show off that they can afford to spend on expensive gadgets for keeping fit. Who knows!
We think it’s a great idea. I’ve worked with people with Parkinson’s myself, using Alexander Technique to help improve their balance and capacity for movement. Posture is definitely a big issue for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s leaves some people paused in movement. They need an impetus to get going. The alerts from Posture Protect might prove helpful there too.
Anything that helps Parkinson’s sufferers to manage their posture better is going to make a positive difference to their quality of life.
Other gadgets not necessarily related to Parkinson’s, like the Upright Go 2 are becoming popular. They currently have some issues due to their need to be glued/attached to the body. Replacement stickers are proving to be a snag for some people, often because of sweat. Perhaps this move towards unobtrusive wearables will be positively received.
Certainly any moves forward to help Parkinson’s and MS sufferers should be popular amongst the community. And the Posture Protect looks like it would make an inexpensive tool easy to adopt and use.
In short we wish well and all the best to Tyler and Jacob. We hope they get a good stable production version out some time in the near future.
Hopefully it will prove a valuable and easy to use addition to current care methods for people with motor control issues. We’ll be sure to let you know!