Shift is a mouse-like pointing device that offers an more accessible way for people with hand tremors to use their computers and devices. The Shift integrates various technologies and features that could be beneficial in providing a better computer use experience for people with hand tremors.
Hand tremors as a result of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or Essential Tremors (ET) present a unique challenge when using a computer. In an increasingly digital society that has been further accelerated by the pandemic - the mobility for people with PD or ET in the digital space have become more challenged.
Access to the Internet/technology is integral in today’s society, it provides invaluable resources, especially for PD patients, as they can connect with support groups, researchers, and information on how to manage symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle, thereby slowing down the progression of PD.
Currently there are no devices designed for users with hand tremors, patents are recommended alternatives that presents other issues. Off the shelf mouse, trackball and joysticks have issues with clicking and pointing accuracy. Software adaptations have a limited efficacy, are often more complicated and inaccessible to the less technologically knowledgeable. (*market research completed prior to Dec 2021)
Extensive primary and secondary research was conducted to better understand the problems and issues people experience. This included literature reviews into research papers, online forums & communities, video & email interviews, online surveys, journey mapping, and competition analysis.
One of the main goals when designing this product is to conform to the office and home environment in which it will be used rather than a disability defining object that can be easily stigmatized. To provide a familiar experience, design choices in form, colors, materials and finishes drew inspirations from consumer electronics and housewares designs.
A mechanically functional looks-like model was made to help communicate the product’s features. The model was developed from FDM and resin printed parts and finished with model making techniques to create a realistic model
Shift integrates various technologies and features explored throughout the research phase to be potentially beneficial in providing a better computer use experience for people with hand tremors
A circular spring loaded mechanism allows for the dome to shift and creates a resistive force that centers the dome when released, the foundation for a more accurate and precise point control
A touch capacitor under the convex surface allows for a track pad like use. Intended for large coarse panning operations, the convexed surface, mimics a trackball but without the ball
A force sensor determines the firmness of a click, and is adapted to differentiate and accommodate varying degrees of hand tremors, preventing unintentional clicks
Change to voice-to-text toggle for or as forward and back buttons
Charges via magnetic wireless charger, eliminating the need to fumble with cord connections
The Shift comes in 4 complementing colour options
Indiscriminate to precise finger gestures, the basic computer operations are mapped to larger hand gestures and clicks to help better differentiate the user’s intended operation
Complimenting software integrates with the hardware to assist with pairing and management.
Haptic actuators simulate click feedback. Works with pressure & touch capacitive sensors allow customized click firmness
Used in trackpads, the capacitive sensor detects touch to provide finger position tracking
Converts translational motion into digital signals through X & Y axis potentiometers. Circular spring provides resistive force to dome