Intelligent Watch Helps to Reduce People’s Tremors with Parkinson’s

Smart watches have lost a little bit of market space, but that does not mean that technology cannot be used for other goals, besides accompanying the user’s activities.

Microsoft’s research and innovation director, Haiyan Zhang, developed the Emma watch via InsideWatch, a watch that helps reduce tremors in the hands of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The name Emma Watch was given in homage to Emma Lawton, a designer of 33 years who, because of the illness, saw her career hampered by not being able to draw a straight line or even sign her name because of the tremors.

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The device employs vibratory engines, similar to those found in cellular phones, to lead the brain to concentrate on another activity instead of trying to control the patient’s limbs, stabilizing the tremors. With this, the person can restore the ability to write, for example.

Zhang says the tremor happens because Lawton’s brain is at war with itself. While a half of the organ tries to move the hand, the other half tries to stop it. The two conflicting signals end up amplifying each other, as if one side wanted to shout louder than the other, causing the tremors. With the device on the wrist, this cycle is interrupted, allowing the designer to be able to hold the pen firmly again.

Although the watch has a long way to go until it can be marketed, it is a quick solution for a disease that has not yet healed and the advances of medicine are still slow.

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