At the Build 2017 developer conference, Microsoft made a number of announcements related to cloud computing, Visual Studio for Mac, Intelligent Cloud for IoT devices and more. Microsoft also highlighted a life-changing wearable device created by Haiyan Zhang, innovation director Microsoft Research Cambridge, to help a designer with Parkinson’s disease to stabilize her hands.
Three years ago, graphics designer Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological disease at the age of 29. Zhang, created a wearable device to help Emma reclaim her lifelong passion for drawing and sketching. Called ‘Emma Watch,’ the device aims to significantly reduce the constant limb tremors associated with Parkinson’s.
“It was incredibly traumatic but exciting at the same time. There was so much fear and emotion hanging in that moment. I wanted it to work so badly. I was petrified. What if it didn’t work? So when it did work, I thought ‘OK, that’s amazing’. I couldn’t really get my head around it. And then when it carried on working…” Emma said.
The wearable watch features an interchangeable strap, available in different colors. The device intentionally shakes the user’s arm, which interrupts the feedback loop, thus impending the normal movement. Wearing the device, Emma was able to draw straight lines, and now she wears it on a daily basis. Designed to fit particular needs of Emma, Zhang currently has not plans of developing the watch for commercial use.
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