Microsoft used its annual Build conference to show off a cool, and very useful, wrist-worn gadget. Called "Emma," the device is designed to help people suffering with Parkinson's disease.
Named after the Parkinson's sufferer that helped Haiyan Zhang, Innovation Director at Microsoft Research, develop the product — it enables Parkinson's patients to normally write and draw on a paper.
"The Emma Watch uses vibrating motors — similar to those found in mobile phones — to distract the brain into focusing on something other than trying to control the patient's limbs," Microsoft explains.
Zhang, the inventor, explains, "It's all about listening to Emma describing her experience because that's one of the only ways you can understand what’s happening with her physiologically, and then drawing insights from that. She said she could observe her hand tremoring but no longer felt the tremor because the vibrations from the device were coming in place of the physical sensation of the tremor. I think what happens with the device is … her brain no longer senses the hand tremoring and is no longer trying to do that loop of stopping the hand from tremoring."
It is worth adding that Emma doesn't have the look and feel of a medical device, making it suitable to be worn all day long.
With millions of people suffering from Parkinson's, Microsoft's invention has the potential to help many. It is unclear, however, when Emma will be released to the general public. Guess we'll have to wait and see…