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
- Power Start: Battery-operated base station gets you started fast.
- Speed Meter: Meter built into ball tracks RPMs
- Gyroscopic: Ball contains a gyroscope, which keeps speed up while rotating wrist.
- Price: $73.95 base price / $64.99 at ThinkGeek
- Photos of the DFX Powerball Gamer Gyroscope
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: **