Dementia

Updated 21 September 2015

ARC pen improves Parkinson's sufferers' writing skills

A group of college students might have found a solution to the handwriting problems of people living with Parkinson's disease.

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The ARC pen, designed by Dopa Solutions, is designed to make life easier for those who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

ARC is a pen designed by Lucy Jung to help with steadiness of the hand for those suffering from micrographia, which is the most common symptom among people with Parkinson's.

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Recovering from a brain tumour herself, Jung has used her experience alongside three students from Imperial and Royal College in the UK to design the ARC pen to help Parkinson's patients get their writing on track again.

High frequency vibration

Studies found that the benefits make writing more pleasurable – allowing writing to be more legible, better-spaced and easier to read. 

The ARC pen is made up of a hard exterior that makes gripping easier, while inside there is a motor that causes a stimulus, allowing improved movement of the hand. The pen has a high frequency vibration that stimulates the muscles in the hand. The vibration frequency also helps the patients to increases the size of their writing.

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Without the ARC pen, writing was a challenge for those with the disease. They had little control over their hand movements, the size of their letters or their cramped handwriting style. The ARC pen's motor stimulates the hand muscle, reducing the effort of having to move the hand across a page. 

Parkinson's disease has no cure, but optimistic technologists are not giving up hope to make life more pleasant for sufferers. 

Various treatments and tests are ongoing in Parkinson's disease but haven't shown much progress. The ARC pen is however a ray of light for the fourteen micrographia sufferers engaged with the prototype, and has led to a positive result for 86% of the respondents.

Dopa Solutions are also looking for partners to help incorporate their "vibration stimulus" in other utensils to make simple things like brushing of teeth, cooking or computer usage simpler for Parkinson's sufferers. 

Watch the video below to find out what Parkinson's patients have to say about the ARC pen


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Image: The ARC Parkinson's pen from Twitter

Sources: Dopa solutionWired.co.ukA pen for people with Parkinson's 

 

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