Emma Watch: Microsoft's device to counter Parkinson's tremors

Emma Watch: Microsoft's device to counter Parkinson's tremors

Emma Watch: Microsoft's device to counter Parkinson's tremors

After a speech that both heralded and warned about coming leaps in technological power, Nadella screened video that told the story of two British Microsoft researches, Haiyan Zhang and Nicolas Villa, who chose to launch and independent project to create a tremor-eliminating device for a BBC documentary, The Big Life Fix.

Side-by-side comparison of Emma's writing with and without the watch.

Emma Lawton is finally able to write her name again.

It's this mission to use technology to empower the human condition that is at the heart of everything Microsoft does, CEO Satya Nadella said at this year's Build developers conference.

The company says more than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson's disease and 60,000 are diagnosed in the United States each year. Zhang notes that a more random rhythm may work better for other people. Lawton credits the Emma Watch's stabilization for restoring her ability to write and draw again - skills she needs as a graphic designer.

Zhang meanwhile is working on Project Emma, which would take the wearable to the next level.

The watch works through a combination of sensors and A.I.techniques to potentially detect and monitor symptoms like tremors, stiffness and instability, among others. Zhang created the watch especially for her.

Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista's 'GOTG' screen test is worth watching
The versatility in character development, for me, provides two things to the action movie experience: depth and memorability. But I'm still the first person to put my hand up and say I am a Marvel rookie, I'm learning everything on the fly.

"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", Zhang said.

For Lawton, a rhythmic vibration is effective, and it's controlled by a Windows 10 app.

In people with Parkinson's, the brain fires off extra signals to muscles, creating a chaotic, internal feedback loop that causes muscles to essentially panic and perform many movements at once.

Lawton says, "The device doesn't stop my tremor".

Encouraged by the success, Zhang has partnered with a neuroscience team in London to set up trails for the device.

The vibrations that Zhang developed in the Emma Watch seem to cause Lawton's brain to focus on her right wrist, apparently reducing the brain's messages to that spot.

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