Derry designed data glove improves arthritis diagnosis

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The world’s leading healthcare innovators have been told a hi-tec glove designed in Derry will lead to more effective treatment of chronic arthritis.

Delegates attending the 4th annual Translational Medicine Conference (TMED 4) heard that the data glove, designed by boffins at the University of Ulster at Magee and clinicians at the Western Trust and researchers at Derry’s C-TRIC ((Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre), should make the assessment of small joint mobility much more accurate.

Computer scientist and academic Dr Kevin Curran who is based at the internationally renowned Intelligent Systems Research Centre (IRSC) at the Magee campus, said:  “This is a custom-made ‘data glove’ which is being manufactured for us at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork and we are expecting delivery of it in August.

“For some months now we’ve been doing a lot of work on the concept, using a bought-in ‘off-the shelf’ glove. But our new one will break new ground for us because it is being made to our specifications and software design.”

Dr Philip Gardiner, of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, said the glove is a unique diagnostic tool.

“There has never been a tool that adequately quantifies stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Current methods are fairly rudimentary and have been around for a very long time. The new glove will give more precise measurements than we’ve ever had and will help people to self-manage their condition.”

Around 150 technologists, academics, healthcare practitioners, researchers and bioindustry R&D managers attended the conference held at C-TRIC, including some of the world’s foremost healthcare innovators.