Wrist wearables can do much more than just track your fitness progress. The Microsoft Research facility at Cambridge proved it after developing one to help graphic designer Emma Lawton sketch again, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease #objectmagic
Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 29, just three years ago. In time, she lost her ability to draw straight lines or even sign her name. Yet, computer scientist Haiyan Zhang from Microsoft Research was willing to put her knowledge and time into finding a solution that would help her regain her abilities – at least, partially.
After several months, a wrist wearable inspired by an existing spoon that counteracts tremors and helps people eat was devised. In the shape of a watch, it short-circuited the “feedback loop between the brain and the hand that’s causing the tremors”. After Emma tried it on, her hand was visibly stabilized. So much so, that she managed to write her name and draw straighter lines.
Emma has been wearing the device on a daily basis. That said, Zhang doesn’t plan to make the product commercially available, as it was constructed with the designer’s needs in mind.