People stricken with Parkinson’s Disease often find it very difficult to write or draw due to a condition called Micrographia. The disorder causes cramped, difficult to read handwriting. In a lot of cases, the afflicted person simply gives up on trying to use pens or pencils.
ARC is a prototype device being developed by designers Lucy Jung, Tian-Jia Hsieh, Hwan Soo Jeon, and Danny Walklin. Collectively known as Dopa Solutions, the group has created the very first pen meant just for Parkinson’s patients who also suffer from Micrographia.
The ARC contains high frequency vibration motors inside of the pen’s body. The vibrations from the motors stimulate muscles in the hand to help the user write steadier and more clearly. The vibrations also serve to make the pen easier to move across the paper – a huge help to those who have difficulty with fine motor movements such as writing.
Although the designers have conducted only a small study with 14 patients, they reported an impressive 86% improvement rate in the participants’ writing. Given that one in 500 people has Parkinson’s, the vibrating pen technology could prove to be life-changing for so many people. There is no word yet on if or when the design team plans to release the ARC pen for commercial purchase.