Tech-Driven Healing: UBC's Smart Glove Promises Precision and Progress for Stroke Survivors

Tech-Driven Healing: UBC’s Smart Glove Promises Precision and Progress for Stroke Survivors

A “smart glove” developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia offers new hope for stroke survivors struggling to regain hand and finger function. This wearable technology, part of a pilot study this month with stroke patients in B.C., uses a network of sensors to precisely track hand and finger motions during rehab exercises.

Dr. Janice Eng, lead researcher and stroke recovery expert, says the key benefit is enabling better monitoring and feedback. “With this glove, we can analyze patients’ movements without cameras and fine-tune their programs for better results,” she explains.

The smart glove grew out of a collaboration between Dr. Eng and experts in electrical engineering and smart textiles, Drs. Peyman Servati and Arvin Tashakori. Their startup, Texavie, focuses on wearable tech.

This glove captures the slightest hand motions and wirelessly transmits data to track progress. Dr. Servati says machine learning models ensure accuracy rivaling expensive camera systems. “The technology detects tiny finger movements and predicts upcoming motions with at least 99% accuracy,” he says.

Beyond tracking, the washable glove provides a comfortable rehab experience. And locally manufacturing the affordable components may enable wide consumer adoption. Dr. Servati envisions applications from virtual reality to sign language translation. “You could type text sans keyboard, control robots, or translate sign language automatically,” he says.

This smart glove demonstrates how an interdisciplinary approach can yield innovative solutions with real-life impact. The researchers hope their technology spurs further advances in wearable devices and improves outcomes for stroke survivors. Most of all, it offers new independence for those relearning how to grip and grab life once more.