BBC Stories, in their very first video of a series that shows how inventions help people with difficulties, have shown how a Parkinson’s victim has begun writing and drawing again. Graphic designer Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 29. This meant that she had to give up on her dream for three years. What can a graphic designer do if he/she cannot draw? Haiyan Zhang, innovation director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, decided to make life better and worked for months. Her efforts eventually helped develop the Emma, which she named after Lawton.
How does it deal with Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s is a disease in which one of the primary symptoms includes tremors. The tremors of the hands, jaws, legs and face deny the patient from doing anything that requires stability. The Emma interrupts the tremors that are eventually supposed to happen. It does so by intentionally short-circuiting the message from the brain to do so. How does it short-circuit the message? By shaking the arms of the wearer which results in countering the message.
Lawton was in tears on being able to write again. It is believed that she has been wearing the device ever since. However, there appears to be no commercial distribution of The Emma, but Zhang hopes that it serves as a path for better inventions to aid Parkison’s victims all over. Hopefully, this is the start of something good and the beginning of the end of Parkinson’s.