Can this Wristwatch Help People with Parkinson’s Write Again?

Can this Wristwatch Help People with Parkinson’s Write Again?

With all the new products, widgets, and gadgets out there meant to clutter our life, there is one that manages to maintain style, grace, and cool points while providing a priceless gift to those with Parkinson’s disease.

This new product allows those with Parkinson’s disease to have more control over their bodies and even write for the first time in years.

It’s a wrist wearable or wristwatch called “Emma’s watch.” Unlike many medical devices, it does not look bulky or unsightly but has a stylish and even cute flair to it!

Check out this short video to see the story of the watch’s creation.

The watch featured in the article is blue, petite, and has the delicate script “emma” written across it, which is in honor of the woman who worked with the creator and helped inspire this game-changing gadget.

So, how does this new product allow those with Parkinson’s disease to write again?

Simply put, the wristwatch creates tremors in the person wearing it.

The Innovation Director of Microsoft Research, Haiyan Zhang, worked closely with Emma to develop a tool that could help her—and others with Parkinson’s disease—write again. Emma explained to Zhang how she has extreme trouble writing or drawing even “simple” things like her name or a square.

After trying unsuccessfully to draw a few shapes, Emma declared that this lack of success is why she does not attempt to draw or sketch anymore.

Zhang, after listening to Emma’s experiences, went on to create the wrist wearable in honor of her. Zhang eventually brought the wearable model back to Emma to test out.

She was successfully able to write her name and draw a square for the first time in eight years.

What a moving and emotional moment that must have been! It is heartening to know that many others may have similar success with this new product.

Interestingly enough, it is not 100 percent known how the “Emma watch” actually works.

What we do know is that the watch creates sensations using vibrating motors like the ones found in motor phones.

This distracts the brain from focusing on the patient’s trembling limbs. Zhang believes that the brain of someone with Parkinson’s disease is at war with itself—one half is dictating movement and the other half wants the trembling movements to stop. This device, Zhang explains, “stops that feedback loop.”

This new watch has the potential to be very helpful for those with Parkinson’s disease.

Perhaps it will be able to help people perform other tasks besides writing. Not only is this wristwatch technologically advanced; it is very stylish and takes the focus away from the implications of Parkinson’s. It provides hope.

This advancement is not the final destination. The quest continues toward the ultimate goal of finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease so that devices like these will no longer be necessary.