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People with Hand Tremors Can Now use iPads More Easily Thanks to a New Free App

Its Designers hope to Apply the Technology to Other Devices as well

Staybl, a new free software, takes advantage of current iPad technology to make it easier to use for people with uncontrollable hand tremors caused by illnesses like Parkinson’s disease.

After two years of collaboration with experts from the German Parkinson’s Association and Parkinson’s patients in Germany and the United States, Havas Creative’s offices in New York and Germany developed the app.

Their goal is to make technology more accessible to people with Parkinson’s disease and other tremor-causing illnesses. While the app is only available on Apple’s iPad right now, its designers hope to expand it to other digital devices and platforms in the future.

“We always talk about how technology could better our lives, but we don’t automatically include everyone in those benefits,” Eric Schoeffler, Havas Germany’s chief creative officer, said. “Staybl is neither a medication nor a cure. “However, it is a technological solution that can enable all persons with Parkinson’s and tremors with easier access to the digital world,” Schoeffler noted.

Tremors are one of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative sickness that affects the central nervous system and is incurable. These tremors, which most typically affect the hands, can make routine tasks like putting on clothes or using mobile devices difficult over time, lowering a person’s overall quality of life.

Staybl, on the other hand, uses the iPad’s accelerometer to detect when the device is shook due to vibrations and responds instantly by moving its on-screen web browser in the opposite direction. This stabilizes the screen, allowing the user to readily view the web page while maintaining control of the device.

In addition, the app’s browser includes additional capabilities that help using the iPad easier for people who have hand tremors. For example, it eliminates swipe and slide movements for navigation, replaces smaller buttons with larger ones that are simpler to click, and provides configurable settings to accommodate tremor symptoms that change throughout the day.

The free app is available in the App Store, however it is presently only compatible with iPads running iPadOS 14 or later.

Staybl is one of numerous technological solutions that have been developed over the years to assist people with Parkinson’s disease-related hand tremors. Liftware, for example, developed an electric spoon to help people with the illness eat more consistently. Its microprocessor and sensors can detect tremors, causing the spoon to move in the opposite direction, cancelling them out.

According to a patent application issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2019, Apple may be researching into ways to keep an iPhone’s display steady when the user’s hands are shaking. It appears that the tech behemoth was exploring employing dynamic image stabilisation circuitry and motion sensors to counteract unexpected movements, allowing the system to transfer on-screen content back to the display’s centre whenever tremors occur.

These features are in addition to a few existing Apple capabilities some of which are featured on the accessibility section of the company’s website that could make using mobile devices a little simpler for persons with hand tremors. On the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and iPod Touch, for example, there is a “Hold direction” setting under “Touch Accommodations Control.” Users may now specify the amount of time their fingerprint must touch the screen before the phone recognizes and processes it.

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