This time last year, we looked at Neofect’s Raphael, a “smart glove” designed to help patients rehabilitate a hand after a stroke. At this CES, the Korean company is showing off a brand new glove concept — one designed to offer a more immediate solution for those suffering from paralysis due to a spinal cord injury.
Like Raphael, the NeoMano prototype is a strange looking thing. This one’s leather, wrapping around the heel of the hand, two fingers and a thumb. Rather than some other solutions that cover the entire hand, Neofect’s model only covers these three digits, which should be enough to execute most tasks. A large battery module sits on the bridge of the hand, and the whole thing is tethered to a control panel.
It’s not an elegant solution, exactly, but it’s potentially an empowering one for those who have lost the ability to perform simple tasks like picking up cups, turning pages, opening doors and using utensils. Of course, the actual functionality will vary from patent to patient depending on their specific injury.
The company has already applied for FDA approval and is planning to bring the device to market by the end of the year. In meantime, it’s taking the product to Kickstarter in the fall, though a rep tells me that the company plans to launch the product in 2018, regardless of whether the company ultimately reaches its goal.
No word yet on how much the device will ultimately run.