Microsoft unveil wearable to help those with Parkinson's

'The Emma' counters the tremors sent from the brain

Microsoft has unveiled a wearable that has enabled a young woman with Parkinson's to draw once more. 

Graphic designer Emma Lawton was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease three years ago, aged 29. Parkinsons cause the hands to shake uncontrollably, making simple tasks near impossible to complete. 

Using an invention, supported by a BBC project and Haiyan Zhang, Microsoft Research Cambridge’s innovation director, Lawton has been able to use a wearable device to reclaim her lifelong passion for drawing and sketching.

Zhang set about to create a device that will enable Lawton to write her name and draw a straight line.

Having previously created cutlery for disabled people that reacts to their movements to avoid spilling food, Zhang used that as a starting point. From there, she created a wrist-based wearable, named The Emma, which counteracts the impulses being sent from the brain to the user's arm. 

Emma was able to her to write her name clearly and even draw a rectangle.  

Zhang and her team are now working to take 'The Emma' to the next stage. They are looking at how AI and sensors could help. The device is still only at the proposal stage. 

This device was showcased as part of Microsoft's keynote at Build 2017. This is the company's annual developer's conference, which got underway yesterday.