The WalkBand is designed for Parkinson's patients who have difficulty with freezing of gait or stride length problems. Parkinson’s patients have reduced levels of dopamine, which causes motor deficits. Medications can be very effective to address most symptoms of Parkinson’s, but does not always fix freezing of gait or stride length.
Freezing of gait is a temporary, involuntary inability to move. It feels like your feet are stock. It often happens in narrow quarters, stopping and starting, turning, and during timed tasks. This freezing can be hazardous due to the increased possibility of losing balance and falling. It causes anxiety and discomfort, and most cue options available on the market are very expensive, bulky, and inconvenient. Parkinson's also causes shuffling and reduced stride length. Vibrational feedback has been shown to change gait mechanics (reduce shuffling, increase stride length), resulting in decreased imbalance and falls.
The WalkBand is a discreet device that provides vibrational feedback (with an easily accessible on and off button) to serve as a external cue to overcome the freezing and increase stride length. When they are about to experience a freeze situation, or are in a freeze situation, they can tap to turn on the device, which vibrates at the patient's ideal walking pace. This helps the patient unfreeze and starting walking again.