Feb 4, 2016 | By Tess
In 1996, world famous boxer Muhammad Ali was chosen to light the Olympic torch at the Atlanta Olympic games despite his suffering of Parkinsons disease. The moment was a historic one and to one young boy, who viewed the ceremony on Youtube years after it occurred, it was the ultimate inspiration. Utkarsh Tandon, the young boy who drew inspiration from Muhammad Ali, is now a high school student at Cupertino High School in California who has developed a 3D printed ring that is capable of monitoring Parkinson’s patients’ tremors and translating them into data accessible through an iOS app.
The project, named OneRing, started in 2014 when Tandon was a high school freshman and chose to develop a machine learning model that could collect data for people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease for his science fair project. The project went on to win first prize and received a grant from the UCLA Brain Research Institute, which allowed Tandon to keep working. Having further developed the Parkinson’s monitoring device with the funds, the OneRing is now being featured in a Kickstarter campaign in order to start production of the monitoring ring and distribute it to Parkinson’s clinics.
Parkinson’s, for those unfamiliar, is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that affects over 10 million people worldwide. The disease manifests itself through the loss of control of the human motor system and through such involuntary movements as shaking, stiffness, and slowness. The disorder has gained some awareness in recent decades because of such high profile sufferers as Muhammad Ali, and Michael J. Fox, who has founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease. The latter helped Tandon to develop his machine learning model through their publicly available Parkinson’s datasets.
Tandon’s OneRing uses intelligent machine learning technology to monitor and measure tremors and Parkinson’s patients’ movements to help doctors and patients better understand their condition and determine what medications should be taken when to relieve symptoms efficiently. The product is a 3D printed ring made of plastic that houses a Bluetooth microchip that connects to the OneRing iOS app using a low Bluetooth connection. Tandon developed an algorithm that essentially lets the technology sense and classify body tremors and input the data into a detailed daily report.
The OneRing is capable of dividing the tremors into three separate categories: dyskinesia, bradykinesia, and tremor. “With these classifications it can be packaged in these very coherent patient reports that the physicians and the patients can read and interact with in a way that better recommends medication,” explains Tandon. To use the OneRing, one simply has to wear it throughout the day, and turn on the iOS app which connects to it. From there, reports can be compiled and easily viewed as they are date and timestamped.
To produce the rings, Tandon is currently sending his 3D digital files to 3D printing service Shapeways and ordering only small quantities. With the Kickstarter campaign, he is hoping to supply Parkinson’s clinics with various sizes of the OneRing as well as iPods onto which the app can be downloaded. They are scheduled to be sent out by April 2016. So far, the crowdfunding campaign has been extremely successful, as it has already doubled its $1,500 goal with less than two days left of the campaign.
Once funded, Tandon will continue to develop his product, through its technological aspects as well as its style. As Tandon says, “It has to be something people want to wear. I want to make it look good while it’s doing the diagnosis in the background.” Part of this stylistic evolution will be to make a one-size fits all ring using a more flexible 3D printed material.
If you want to make a last minute pledge to Tandon’s OneRing campaign, check out his Kickstarter page here. Otherwise, be sure to keep an ear open for future projects led by the ambitious, and quite frankly, ingenious high schooler.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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