After Hours

Geek Gifts 2012: DFX Powerball Gamer Gyroscope

The Powerball might be beneficial for gamers and some athletes, but Wally Bahny doesn't advise using the device for carpal tunnel rehabilitation.

The DFX Powerball Gamer Gyroscope is started either from the included battery-operated base station, a pull string, or by swiping your hand very fast across the wheel several times. Once it is brought up to speed, the ice blue LED begins glowing, and the device is ready for use. Simply roll your wrist from side-to-side or in a circle to continue building speed, and you will begin to feel its effects. The user is forced to grip the ball fairly hard because of its imbalanced nature, which causes muscles all the way up to the elbow to tense. Several other movements are suggested on the instructional video that come with the Powerball and on videos on the manufacturer's website.

Dynaflex makes these claims about the Powerball Gamer Gyroscope:

  • It will strengthen the user's arm, wrist, hand, and grip.
  • It will increase the user's endurance for extreme gaming.
  • It will improve the user's dexterity for high-level gaming.
  • It will aid the prevention of hand and shoulder injuries.
  • It will relieve arm fatigue.
  • It provides rehabilitation from carpal tunnel and other similar conditions.
  • It will improve the user's performance in sports and general fitness -- even so much as to take the place of machines and free weights.

I work in the healthcare industry, so I asked several coworkers who have degrees in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sports medicine what they thought of the device. They all said that, while the Powerball could improve hand and forearm strength due to the isometric hold required to maintain a grip on the ball, the claim of it being a rehabilitation tool for those with carpal tunnel syndrome is false. They said that if someone with carpal tunnel were to use the Powerball it would probably make the condition much worse.

Based on this anecdotal information, I concluded that the Powerball's best uses are for competing with friends for RPM counts and duration and improving high-end performance for tasks that require lot of hand, wrist, or forearm strength, such as tennis and rock climbing.

Product specifications and features

What I like

  • Competition: The Powerball is a game. If you had friends or family around, you could take turns trying to achieve a certain number of RPMs, a certain duration, or both.
  • Power Start Base: Earlier models required the user to either start the device with their hand - which I could not get to work -- or with a pull string. The powered base makes it much easier to get it going.

What I don't like

  • Carpal tunnel claims: Based on anecdotal information from my coworkers in the healthcare industry, the claim that this device could rehabilitate someone with carpal tunnel is false.
  • Price: $65 or more is way too much for this device.

Geek bottom line

If you're a gamer, the Powerball might improve your dexterity. If you play a sport that requires forearm, wrist, or hand strength, you might get some benefit from the Powerball. But, if you have carpal tunnel or a similar condition, I trust my coworkers who say to stay away from the Powerball. Overall, this device seems too expensive for what you get out of it.

Geek gift score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: **
  • Geek factor: **
  • Value: *
  • Overall: **
2 comments
Berta Robinson
Berta Robinson

I have Arthritis and purchased a Dfx Powerball in the Spring of 2011 and have been using it ever since. I originally saw an advertisement for it online (don't remember where) and was quiet skeptical but when I went to my local chiropractor for a Spinal Adjustment she actually recommended it for my Arthritis. You are correct it isn't proven that it helps in the rehabilitation of Capral Tunnel but I don't think it's crazy to believe some people could who have Carpal Tunnel could actually see positive results after using this product. I have read numerous testimonials from such people that align with my statement. Basically what I'm trying to get at, is that it's worth a shot.

dennis.jacobsen
dennis.jacobsen

$42. 16 on Amazon. Still pricey but better than the $65 in the article

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