Shift is a computer pointing device that offers an more accessible way for people with hand tremors to use their computers. The Shift integrates various technologies and features studied during primary and secondary research 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.
Digital Mobility enables people to “interact with, and contribute to, sources of information, knowledge, content creation” (PwC, 2011). For users living with PD or ET, access to the Internet can help provide information on managing their symptoms and help connect them with other support groups beyond their locality.
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)
Shift integrates various technologies and features explored throughout an extensive research phase to be 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 fine finger gestures, the basic computer operations are mapped to larger hand gestures and clicks to help better differentiate the user’s intended operation. Other operations like dragging items utilize both a moving component as well as pressure
Complimenting software integrates with the hardware to assist with pairing and management.
A series of solenoids provide high accelerated vibrations to simulate more accurate and realistic tactile feedback. Works in tandem with the force and touch capacitive sensors to provide various click depth illusions.
Technology used in trackpad and displays. The capacitive sensors are used to detect touch and work with the force sensor to provide accurate finger position tracking and click pressure.
The primary device that converts analog motion into digital signals through two potentiometers in the X and Y axis. Utilizing similar technology found in video game console joysticks.