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ARC pen helps people with Parkinson's Disease improve handwriting

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 7, 2015 in Health
It's a sad fact that motor skills are dramatically impaired for those suffering from Parkinson's Disease. One area that declines is handwriting, which becomes smaller and less clear. That reality may change, however, thanks to a new style of pen.
It's not on the market yet but it has shown in testing to be helpful for those who suffer from Parkinson's, a disease of the central nervous system which includes shaking and trembling, along with hands cramping up. The specific disorder that causes hand-cramping is called micrographia
The pen was invented by a group of researchers at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London and it uses high-frequency vibrations which in essence stimulate and manage key muscles in the hand.
The managing of the muscles enables the writer to move the pen across the page with more ease and control, and with little or no cramping. Doing so, as one test patient said, makes their writing "bigger and more clear." Another helpful aspect of the pen is its wider shape and a design that makes it easier for gripping. Tests show an increased clarity of writing and an overall handwriting improvement of 85 percent.
The inventor group at the Royal College call themselves Dopa Solutions and named their invention the ARC pen. They don't know yet when it will be out on the market and are looking for a company to put some money into its further development.
The group is also applying the technology of high-frequency vibrations to stimulate muscles in other areas that may benefit sufferers of Parkinson's Disease, including to devices such as hair and tooth brushes, make-up applicators and computer mice.
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