ARC Pen Offers Hope For Parkinson's Patients

As you’re probably aware if you’ve been around for a while, my dad has Parkinson’s disease. If someone you love also has it, then you understand how horrible it is not just for the sufferer but for their entire family and circle of friends. It steals from them the ability to do simple tasks like feeding themselves, dressing themselves, or writing a simple note. In the last several years, a number of products have hit the market that aim to make those tasks easier to perform, and I’ve bought more than one of them for my dad in hopes of letting him remain at least a little independent at least a little longer.

ARC is an oversized, vibrating pen that is supposed to make it easier for Parkinson’s patients to write. A group of students at UK’s Royal College of Art and the Imperial College London developed it in an effort to combat micrographia, which is the tendency for Parkinson’s patients’ handwriting to get cramped and tiny until it can no longer be read. The ARC Pen does this through a combination of its size (larger objects are far easier to grip) and vibrations produced by internal motors as the pen is used.

What’s interesting is their original intent was to show people without the disease how it felt to have it, but they discovered instead that the vibrations actually helped the patient. That’s the same idea behind the Liftware Spoon we looked at a couple of years ago, and which I still really want to try.

This video made me cry, I’ll admit it. But it gives me hope as well, that eventually the ARC Pen will become a real product that can be bought, and readily accessible for all those whose handwriting has suffered from their disease. Which of course means ARC is not yet a product on the market, but I can see it happening. The team is also looking at equipping other tools with motors so those with Parkinson’s will be able to care for themselves longer than they can now. I love them for that.


Source: Engadget

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