The electronic “data” glove could be worn by patients at home allowing their joint stiffness to be measured around the clock.
The device is being developed by the Tyndall Institute in Cork in conjunction with the University of Ulster. It will be able to integrate real-time movements of the hand to allow detailed observations and measurement of each patients’ hand and wrist movements.
Dr Joan Condell of University of Ulster said the round-the-clock monitoring would help researchers to quantify and better understand “early morning stiffness” which was almost universal in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
The glove is being tested with patients at Altnagelvin hospital in Derry.
The designers add that it had “many other possible applications” beyond helping arthritis sufferers, including rehabilitation of hand injuries.
An Arthritis Ireland spokesperson said: “The most important thing in achieving good patient outcomes is early intervention so any diagnostic tool that can expedite this process is most welcome.”