“it makes me forget that I have a tremor.”
Parkinson’s disease is known to cause uncontrollable hand tremors. This can especially be infuriating for someone who loves to write and draw, and whose profession depends on those skills. Graphic Designer Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease around three years ago, and her sudden inability to use her hand because of tremors caused her to stop writing and drawing. “I tend to avoid doing sketching and writing now because it’s not really worth it”, she said.
However, Haiyan Zhang, Innovative Director at Microsoft Research wanted to help Emma.
Inspired by a spoon that moves in the opposite direction of one’s shaky hand, therefore, making the hand steady, Haiyan started experimenting with vibrating motors. She created a rough prototype that short circuits the feedback loop between the brain and the hand that’s causing the tremors, essentially distracting Emma’s brain with the vibration of the motors. After working on several months, a wearable prototype was ready and made available to Emma. To Emma’s astonishment, the wearable reduced her tremors significantly, and helped her write her name and even drew a rectangle with straight lines!
Watch the video below to see Emma and Haiyan’s story. Haiyan does not plan to continue to work on “The Emma” but she hopes that someone else will pick it up from where she left off and continue to work on this technology.
Source: Digital Trends