Two years ago, a young medical student named Faii Ong was asked to help care for a 103-year old patient who kept losing weight. “No one knew what was going on, ” Ong told me recently. “No one knew why she was doing so poorly. Did we miss something big, like cancer?”
It turned out they hadn’t missed anything big: they’d missed something small. Taking his lunch in the cafeteria one day, Ong happened to see his patient struggling to eat soup with a spoon. “Her hand kept trembling, and so the soup spilled all down her front.” Because of essential tremors caused by Parkinson’s, the 103-year-old was losing weight simply because she could not get food to her mouth without spilling.
In the time since the encounter, Ong has invented a device that could help his patient, as well as millions of other Parkinson’s patients and tremor sufferers around the world. His invention, the GyroGlove, straps gyroscopic stabilizers on the back of a patient’s hand, promising to vastly help people with hand tremors use simple tools with accuracy.