Three years ago, 32 year old graphic designer Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Since the diagnosis, her tremors have become increasingly worse restricting her ability to write and draw a straight line. As part of the BBC’s The Big Life Fix series, Microsoft’s Innovation Director, Haiyan Zhang, created a wearable device to combat Lawton’s tremors, which was aptly named ‘the Emma’.
Similar to speciality cutlery previously designed by Zhang to aid disabled individuals, the process works by deliberately shaking the user’s arm to counter tremor shakes. The device looks like an oversized watch and contains a small motor that vibrates the user’s wrist. The Emma is linked to a mobile app allowing the user to easily control the device while in use.
After using the device daily for months, Lawton is thrilled with the results and how much her work has improved. Lawton is now able to achieve her goal of writing her name and drawing a straight line, which allowed her to once again design creative sketches for clients.
Though Zhang has no intentions of commercializing the Emma, she hopes other researchers will use this project as a foundation for new designs. After seeing how successful the device was for Lawton, it is clear the technology could be used to improve the lives of others with the same condition.
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Source: MS Poweruser