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Get A Grip


The NeoMano from Neofect is an assistive device for patients with primarily higher level cervical spinal-cord injuries. (Photo by Andy Nemann).
Online Exclusive posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 8:31am

The NeoMano assistive prototype glove debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show

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Opening doors, gripping a glass and other everyday tasks could soon be much easier for high-functioning quadriplegics and others with limited hand dexterity, thanks to a new prototype glove debuting this month at the annual Consumer Electronics Show technology trade show in Las Vegas.

The NeoMano from Neofect is an assistive device for patients with primarily higher level cervical spinal-cord injuries (SCI) who need to increase their grip in order to participate in activities of daily life. Targeted to those with a SCI between C5 and C7, the glove fits over the user’s index finger, middle finger and thumb to form what is technically called the “three-jaw chuck” or power grip.

A small battery-operated motor attached near the thumb is controlled with a remote by the user’s other hand to grip and/or release an object. Neofect Clinical Manager and occupational therapist Lauren Sheehan, OTD, OTR/L, has been helping test the prototype and says the control doesn’t take much pressure from the user to operate, and a palm, elbow or side of the hand can be used to activate the functions. Sheehan says the NeoMano gives the user plenty of gripping function, and the prototype is still evolving.


The NeoMano from Neofect is an assistive device for patients with primarily higher level cervical spinal-cord injuries. (Photo by Andy Nemann).

“It can close enough to pick up a relatively small object. It’ll really just depend on the flexibility of the user’s hand,” she says. “Some of our testing in this next phase is really to decide what the qualifications of a user’s abilities and flexibility of that soft tissue, the bone structure and the positioning of the hand needs to be.”

Neofect is planning to do a Kickstarter campaign with the device and hopes to have it out on the market by the end of this year or in early 2019. Meanwhile, the NeoMano continues to undergo evaluation, and the company is looking for the public’s help with the development process.

Sheehan says the NeoMano will be at February’s Abilities Expo in Los Angeles so they can get some perspective from the users there. She says feedback from the public is important to make sure the device is being created for the right users.

“The testing piece is really going to be important to try and hone in on and fine-tune those user characteristics so that we can best direct it to the most appropriate user, so that when they get it and deploy it, it really works for their function and their routines,” Sheehan says.

So far, Sheehan says some of the feedback they’ve gotten has been about thumb positioning, including a sturdier thumb post to create better opposition in the grip. Other changes to the final version of the glove could include what the force of the grip needs to be for the most function, what materials works best for traction, and what the design needs to be in order to be usable for as many users as possible.

“The response has largely been good from a user’s standpoint. What we’re continuing to formulate and fine-tune is who it’s going to be most appropriate for,” Sheehan says. “We really want to hone in on who is the best candidate, so it doesn’t end up in the hands of someone who is expecting something from it that it’s not able to provide.”

 

For more information, visit neomano.neofect.com, or visit their booth at the Los Angeles Abilities Expo in February.

 

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