Trequant, a wristwatch that detects tremors in hands, was just launched on May 16th, 2016, on Kickstarter, an online platform that supports crowdfunding projects. Trequant has a low early bid price of just $99. The device detects and monitors tremors in addition to sending them for analysis, which makes sharing healthcare information with doctors and healthcare professionals a breeze.
Trequant offers secure and easy access to patient data by saving it on the cloud. The watch also sends medication reminders on patients’ phones. The manufacturer of the watch also offers a cheaper band option for $79, which does not have the overall functionality of the watch but replicates its aesthetics. Trequant was developed by a team of engineers from NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Pakistan.
Trequant looks just like a regular wristwatch with subtle hour markers, a 42mm diameter silver dial, white background, luminous clock hands and a leather wristband. On the 12-hour position there is the company’s logo, which is an ECG signal. The watch looks quite elegant and understated.
What sets it apart from a normal watch is the magic going on underneath. Trequant houses 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscopes which allow the device to accurately determine vibrations in the body caused by essential tremors or due to Parkinson’s disease. Trequant determines the intensity and frequency of the tremors using sophisticated algorithms, hence allowing the patient’s condition to be judged accordingly.
The recorded tremor data can also be used for analysis and future viewing via the Trequant companion app for PC, iOS and Android devices. The app allows patients to record their tremors and set reminders about their medication. The application creates detailed visualizations and stats about the patient’s condition and gives tips, diet plans and daily exercise goals to better manage the patient’s condition. The app’s design is quite bold and sophisticated, with an eye-catching layout and attention to detail.
The team has been working on the product tirelessly for two years, during which they created a total of four prototypes. The team has made the final prototype available on their Kickstarter page with several different pledge options available. By donating $79 or more, individuals can donate the watch to a Parkinson’s patient who cannot afford it. The receiver can get the donor’s contact information whereas the donor can get a goodie bag and a hand-written note from the CEO.
The most popular option, currently limited to 150 backers, gives users access to the super early bird pack for $99. The pack has one Trequant watch, 1 Trequant USB and 1 Trequant charger and $10 for engraving.
A Little Background On Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that results in the rapid death of nerve cells, that causing tremors of the hand, jaw, face, legs and torso. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and impairs balance, co-ordination and motor skills.
Most Parkinson’s patients are 60 years or older but early-onset Parkinson’s disease affects people aged from 21-40 while juvenile-onset Parkinson’s affects individuals less than 21 years of age. The number of Parkinson’s patients is going to increase over the coming years due to greater life expectancy.
Most Parkinson’s disease symptoms related to motor skills occur due to a lack of dopamine from a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. When dopamine levels fall substantially, the communication between the brain and the area of the brain that controls movement becomes impaired, worsening overall movement.
Other cells in the brain can also degenerate, causing non-movement related symptoms. It is unclear as to why dopamine cells degenerate but studies have shown that stress, genetics and environment are responsible.
What Was The Reason For Developing Trequant?
Parkinson’s is an incurable disease and the reason why it occurs is still unknown. Every nine minutes someone is diagnosed with the disease and approximately four million people are affected by it worldwide. There are different drugs and treatment methods available, but they can be time consuming and expensive. By contrast, Trequant is a good aid for patients and will be most effective when used in combination with their treatment procedures and medications.
Fawad Bhatti, the founder of Trequant, is well aware of the problems that Parkinson’s causes, since some of his family members are affected by the disease, his older brother being a movement disorder expert at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.
There are many wearable healthcare products in the market, mostly aimed at busy people who are exercise conscious. Companies such as Fitbit and Withings have dominated this niche of healthcare technology.
There have been other medical devices that assist Parkinson’s patients such as Liftware’s spoon that automatically stabilizes the patient’s hands, helping patients enjoy their meals without worrying about spilling, but Trequant is the first wearable device aimed at Parkinson’s patients.
The wearable healthcare sector is going to exponentially grow in the coming years and it is interesting what cutting edge products we are going to see next.