Something many individuals often take for granted are daily tasks such as eating and handwriting. However, when an individual is affected by Parkinson’s, these tasks are anything but simple. Last year I wrote about a utensil called Liftware, a spoon that helps cancel tremors making it easier to eat. And now there is a new device being tested to help these individuals be able to write: the ARC Pen.
People affected by Parkinson’s Disease often experience micrographia, a symptom common with the disease. In the medical field, the condition micrographia is summed up as “small handwriting.” One characteristic of this condition is having a patient’s handwriting become smaller and more cramped. The more one writes, the worse it gets and it ultimately ends up illegible. The ARC Pen aims to prevent this from happening by stimulating key muscles via vibration.
Dopa Solution, the company behind the ARC Pen, offers a helpful statement on their website:
Dopa Solution’s aim is to focus on higher level needs in order to have the greatest impact on people’s lives. By utilizing high frequency vibration motors within ARC, we are able to facilitate larger and clearer writing by stimulating the key muscles in the hand as well as reducing the effort required to move the pen across the paper. ARC prototypes have been trialled and developed in conjunction with fourteen people with the symptoms of Micrographia, demonstrating an overall improvement in writing of 86%.
Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the initial idea of the pen. According to this article, team leader Lucy Jung initially designed the pen to give non-patients the idea of what it’s like to write with Parkinson’s. However, the end product ended up as perhaps a revolutionary tool for those with Parkinson’s. Its bulky appearance may not seem to be the most comfortable, but its large body actually makes it easier to handle for people with Parkinson’s disease.
The pen is still being refined and tested. Click here to learn more on the ARC Pen.