Project Emma


July 5, 2017


Emma Lawton; Haiyan Zhang


Parkinson’s UK; Microsoft


There is no cure for Parkinson’s, the disease that currently plagues more than 10 million people worldwide including Emma Lawton, a graphic designer diagnosed with the movement disorder in 2013. Fueled by her passion for technology for good, Microsoft researcher Haiyan Zhang designed the Emma Watch, a wearable device that temporarily short-circuits Emma’s tremors and allows her to write legibly for the first time in years. “To be able to [write my name] and do it neatly is really special to me now,” Lawton says. “It’s empowering. It made me feel that I could do anything.”

Zhang and her colleagues on Project Emma are exploring the use of sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and monitor the complex symptoms associated with the disorder. Learn more >