The Cambridge simulation gloves simulate a reduction in the functional ability of the hands. In particular, they use plastic strips to limit the strength and range of motion of the fingers and thumb. Various conditions, such as arthritis, can cause effects like these. As an example, these gloves will make it much more difficult to use a knife and fork, simulating the difficulties that people with arthritis of the knuckles have in gripping small handles.
Please note that impairment simulation cannot convey what it is really like to live with capability loss on an everyday basis. In particular, the gloves do not simulate other common effects such as pain, tremor, loss of tactile sensitivity and changes to the shape of the hand that occur with ageing. Furthermore, they do not simulate any problems with the wrists. As an example, using a touchscreen keyboard on a mobile phone remains relatively easy with the gloves but is particularly difficult for people with tremor.
Therefore, these gloves are intended to be used in combination with other tools as part of a holistic inclusive design evaluation (described within the Evaluate part of the Process section of this website).
The gloves can be used to help people to empathise with those with dexterity impairment, and to compare the demands placed by different products on dexterity. The harder a product is to use while wearing the gloves, the more demand it places on dexterity and the more inaccessible it is. Conversely, if a product remains comfortable to use while wearing these gloves, then it is likely to be more comfortable for a broad range of users.
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