While most high school sophomores are Snapchatting, 15-year-old Utkarsh Tandon is planning to revolutionize the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease. Scratch that. He’s actually doing it, with a device he invented for his high school science fair at Cupertino High School in California.
Tandon is the inventor of OneRing, a unique wearable device that tracks the movements of Parkinson’s sufferers and provides daily data readings to help doctors better prescribe medication. (The machine learning model he created for the science fair, unsurprisingly, won him first place and a grant from UCLA’s Brain Research Institute.) Last week, Tandon’s Kickstarter project received the funding needed to help him get the device into patients’ hands in the next few months.
What OneRing does is simple, but it may be the key to better management of the disease. Parkinson’s causes uncontrollable movements in patients, due to a lack of dopamine. These movements, such as shakes and tremors, are incredibly disruptive to patients’ daily routines.
At its core, OneRing helps users monitor those movements. It is a wearable device that tracks the data all day, feeding it to an iOS app.
The readings from the app show the movement patterns throughout the day, giving patients and doctors detailed information that allows medication to be prescribed accordingly.
For the 10 million people worldwide who live with the condition, this simple tracking device could be life-changing. Surprisingly, however, Tandon invented the device simply out of curiosity. As he says in his Kickstarter statement:
“I got the idea for OneRing when watching Muhammad Ali, who has Parkinson’s disease, light the Olympic torch in 1996. I was not born yet to witness the actual event, but after watching the video on YouTube I wanted to learn more about the disease since I could see how strongly the movement disorder affected him in the video. I had additionally seen Back to the Future when I was young and my dad told me that the main actor, Michael J. Fox, has Parkinson’s disease as well. This really inspired me to use my knowledge in programming to develop a device that could help Parkinson’s patients deal with their motor symptoms.”
To find out more, visit his Kickstarter, and watch the video below.
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