In the late stages of Parkinson’s disease, some patients develop a condition known as a “frozen gait” in which they temporarily lose the ability to move forward while walking,media reported. NexStride is designed to solve this problem by using lasers to guide their feet. Freezing the gait is obviously quite frustrating, but at the same time it can be dangerous. This is because when people’s feet are fixed on the floor, their upper body continues to move forward, which can cause them to lose their balance and fall.
Sidney Collin was a student at Caltech when he was in charge of developing a mobility aid for a local Parkinson’s patient with gait freeze. Now, she is the CEO of De Oro Devices, and her NexStride has become the company’s latest product.
It is understood that NexStride uses a rubber O-ring, which is mounted on the user’s cane, walking frame or walking rod. Inside contains an electronic metronome that adjusts the rhythm and a down-faced adjustable angle laser — the latter projecting a green line on the floor in front of the user, perpendicular to the direction in which they travel.
Previous studies have shown that visual targets on the ground — such as lines between tiles — can somewhat ease gait freezes, and users can look at them and then take them forward. Doing so activates the circuits in their brains so that they can continue to walk.
NexStride is reported to be priced at $599.