Parkinson's disease causes tremors or stiffness that can turn everyday tasks such as eating, brushing teeth, or writing into frustrating chores. A few years ago a company called Liftware developed forks and spoons that respond to shaking by steadying the utensil, making it easier to enjoy a meal.
Now researchers at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art in London are developing a device called the ARC pen that vibrates to stimulate muscles in the hand. The vibrations could help Parkinson's patients' handwriting—in part by counteracting what's known as micrographia, which causes writing to be small and barely legible. Micrographia is often an early sign of Parkinson's and afflicts about five percent of patients.
The researchers, who formed a company called Dopa Solution, have not published their results. But they say that 12 out of the 14 Parkinson's sufferers testing their vibrating prototype ARC pen were able to write larger, clearer characters than they could with a normal pen. Dopa hopes to also develop tools, brushes and even computer mice that work like their pen. Not a cure, of course, but certainly a way to help users have a more satisfying life.
帕金森综合征会造成身体颤抖或僵硬，这使得吃饭、刷牙或写字等日常活动变成令人沮丧的难题。几年前，一家名为 Liftware 的公司研发出通过稳定餐具来应对身体颤抖，使得帕金森患者用餐变得更简单。
现在伦敦的帝国理工学院和皇家艺术学院的研究人员正在研发一款名为 ARC 笔的设备，它可以通过振动刺激手部肌肉。这种振动可以帮助帕金森患者更好地书写——在一定程度上缓解写字过小症，这种病症会导致写字很小，甚至几乎无法辨认。写字过小症通常是帕金森综合征的早期症状，大约 5% 的患者都受其困扰。
这些研究人员成立了一家名为“多巴解决方案”的公司。虽然研究结果还未公布，但他们表示在参与测试的 14 名帕金森患者中，ARC 震动笔已经让 12 人能够把字写得更大了，而且比他们使用普通笔写出的字更清晰。多巴公司还希望研发其它像 ARC 笔一样的工具、牙刷、甚至鼠标。当然这并不能让患者康复，但却是一种让患者过上更满意生活的方法。