8 March 2009

Posted by DMC on 8 March 2009 in Diary |

Grave disappointment. I received the following e-mail today from the Washington professor abandoning my bionic glove project.

“Hi Mark

I heard you spoke with Jenny. Thank you for explaining to us about what we are thinking about.

After evaluation with the team, we have come to a conclusion that your case is not possible for us to work on at this stage of the company.

We feel we can build a system, but we cannot build it without meeting with you in person several times here in Seattle, to fit it. Human hands are amazing in that they are all so different and any materials you can send us (photos, videos, molds, etc) just won’t to it.

You sound so motivated and full of ideas, and we feel bad that we are unable to work on your problem at this time. I know Jenny has recommended a UK based company and I have a feeling that while they may not be able to build as sophisticated a device as we may be able to, UK local folk are the only people who can provide you the solution right now.

Good luck and I hope you find a great match with a UK company.


XXWorks Team”

I wasn’t ready to give up so easily and replied:


Upon reflection overnight I wonder, with the greatest respect, whether XXWorks may be missing an opportunity to launch itself with a device which would have universal appeal and therefore attract universal praise.

I say this because I wonder whether your team leader really grasped the simplicity of my idea. Any failure in this direction must be entirely down to me. My enthusiasm for the concept is such that I automatically assume others will understand what I’m talking about.

Bear with me when I say that the device does not depend on the precise nature of individual hands. What I had in mind was a double skinned glove. Three (or perhaps five) sizes fitting all. It is not a scientifically crafted instrument but merely a glove with a small pressure operated motor in the palm which curls the fingers from the knuckles.

In other words the curling effect could take place whether or not there was a hand in the glove merely by pressing on the palm. The user would merely have to find a close fitting pair of such gloves.

So, in order to develop the idea we would start off, in my case with a close-fitting lightweight cotton glove, which I would fit and send to the team leader. Onto that glove will be sown the eco-skeleton. I pointed out to the team leader an articulated rod and knuckle ortho. wrist support which she could probably use as a starter. I suggested to her that she got an orthopaedic salesman to visit her who would, no doubt, be happy to supply such a support in the interests of science and, perhaps, future sales if the gloves are a universe of success.

Having sown this exo-skeleton onto the first lightweight glove the only development which would need to take place is how to get it to curl at the knuckles with a small pressure operated motor in the palm. Not rocket science, I think you would agree. There are many miniature medical motors which could probably be harnessed for this purpose. I anticipated that quite a lot of power would need to be available for this motor and suggested to the team leader that a string of batteries could be embedded in a high wrist band which would have the added advantage of giving a additional support.

The finishing effect would be to fit an outsize cotton glove over exoskeleton. So we end up with it being sandwiched between two gloves. I reiterate, I do not believe we need a bespoke glove but one which would fit all.

I Implore XXWorks not to lose this unique opportunity to make medical history.



I did not receive a reply so must seek an alternative.

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