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robertogreco : haiyanzhang   2

‘My God, it’s better’: Emma can write again thanks to a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease – Transform
"As they got to know one another, the question became: Could Zhang’s tech skills help alleviate Lawton’s loss of writing function?

Certainly, that challenge meshed with Zhang’s passion: technology for good, the idea that society can advance through tech evolution. She’s equally drawn to the Maker movement, a global culture that blends DIY sensibilities with modern engineering, fueling altruistic folks to devise and share innovations that help the world.

Zhang infuses that spirit into her job, innovation director at Microsoft Research Cambridge in England. She’s involved in initiatives spanning the play and health spaces. For example, her team is developing a project called Fizzyo, a connected device for kids with Cystic Fibrosis that turns their daily physiotherapy exercises into a video game experience. She’s also working with colleagues to develop Project Torino, a set of physical blocks that helps children with visual impairments learn computer programming.

Lawton, in turn, saw tangible hope in a woman with a mind bright enough to unsnarl brain complexities and a will strong enough to make a fresh assault on a very old problem. Lawton was also open to trying anything, decrying a lack of new Parkinson’s treatments during her lifetime – as well as medications that can make her days harder by triggering more symptoms.

“Technology is sliding in lately and helping with the symptomatic relief and to make life easier,” Lawton says. “That’s where I’m interested. The whole idea of tech for good.

“But more than anything, I just wanted to be able to write my name properly.”


The moment of truth begins with two surprised gasps.

Oooh! Oooh!” Lawton chirps, feeling the watch start to vibrate through her right wrist. She uses her left hand to place a green marker in her right. Then she attempts to draw the first letter in her name. She doesn’t expect it to work.

It does. With the tremors reduced, Lawton pens a perfectly round “e.” The other three letters follow, equally tidy. She cries, something she does when she’s happy. Zhang puts her hand to her mouth and utters, “Oh my God.

“So many things are rushing through my head, all banging around in there,” Lawton recalls later. “Like, is this a one-off? I’m excited and nervous, is it from that? I’m forgetting I have a tremor.

“I look at Haiyan and she’s shell-shocked too. But then I’m panicking: Will it happen again?”

It does. Lawton next draws a straight line. Then a small square. Then a larger rectangle. All are crisp and sharp. The two collaborators hug. Then Lawton phones her mother to report the news – and to tell her the device is officially called “the Emma Watch.” The moment was recorded for a BBC documentary show, “The Big Life Fix.”

“I was in disbelief,” Zhang recalls. “As someone who works in technology and thinks about new kinds of things, I don’t really see the impact of that on people’s lives or on an individual. For me, it was so powerful to see her life made better.”

“To be able to write your name is a basic human right,” Lawton says later. “To be able to do it and do it neatly is really special to me now. It’s empowering. It made me feel that I could do anything.”"

[direct link to video: ]
parkinson'sdisease  health  technology  haiyanzhang  accessibility  disability  tremors  assistivetechnology  emmalawton  disabilities 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Is it the Internet of Things?
"Does it visualize your social network?
Does it have an LED matrix display?
Is it an Alternate Reality Game played in the real world?
Can it give you a virtual hug?
Is it on kickstarter?
Is it RFID enabled?
Does it dispense bubbles or candy?
Does it stalk you?
Does it have ears?
Is it connected to the internet?
Does it have a face?
Is it wifi enabled?
Does it augment your reality with digital content?
Does it connect you to loved ones at a distance?
Is it haptic?
Does it use Arduino?
Does it help you save on your energy bill?
Does it make your digital world more tangible?
Does it light up?
Is it the future?
Is it citizen science?
Was it created at a hackathon?
Does it knit?
Does it open new avenues for lighting?
Is it Quantified Self?
Is it attached to a helium balloon?
Is it a TED talk?
Did BERG make it?
Is it open source?
Can it make plants talk?
Is it 3D printed?
Does it have sensors that upload stuff to the internet?
Does it sit on your bookshelf?
Does it track your activity with numbers you don't understand?
Is it an ambient display?
Does it have an LED matrix display?
Does it use Big Data?
Does it tweet?
Does it alert you to emails, tweets, friend statuses without you having to open a computer?
Is it self-aware?"

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internetofthings  humor  berg  berglondon  haiyanzhang  things  iot 
november 2012 by robertogreco

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