Watch-type gadget replaces swipe of a finger and click of a computer mouse
A wristband allows people who can’t use their hands to operate any phone, laptop, or tablet.
It translates the user’s movements into commands for any paired Bluetooth device, replacing the swipe of a finger on a touch screen, the tap on a keyboard and the click of a mouse.
With a flick of the wrist, users with cerebral palsy can digitally draw a picture for the first time. Injured veterans can type emails and text messages, play games and crop photos.
The watch-type gadget gives them full mastery of whatever device they’re using, allowing them to control every on-screen function.
Even if an individual has tremors, the device will show a cursor moving smoothly on the screen.
It can be worn on the wrist, the upper arm or upper leg – wherever the user has motion – and adapts to any form of movement after just 10 minutes of calibration.
Beyond day-to-day use, the $990 device, the MyMove, is rehabilitating amputees with phantom pains, and is helping people with disabilities gain employment.
The company behind the device, Tel Aviv-based 6Degrees, aims to give people with disabilities full access to technology.
“Our vision is to allow anyone to control smart devices or the digital world using their existing motion and their existing abilities,” says Miri Berger, CEO and Co-founder.
MyMove continuously collects data and adapts to each user’s unique movements.
There are many inclusive technologies for people with disabilities. Many cater to users who have no motion at all, such as devices that track eye movements or respond to brain commands.
“We don’t ask you to install a device because all of the calibration is in the hardware,” Berger tells NoCamels. “That’s how we’re different – we do it in real time, and we do it in a way that is personalized to the user.”
Berger met her now-husband Aryeh Katz (Co-Founder and CTO) shortly after he was injured during his military service in the IDF as a paratrooper. During his physical rehabilitation she noticed how people with injured limbs lacked independence.
She came across the problem again during her studies at the Pratt Institute in New York, where her teacher, who was an amputee, was unable to use his prosthetic hand with his computer when teaching computer modeling.
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“We wanted to help people who lost their fine motor skills regain their independence,” she tells NoCamels.
The couple made Aliya to Israel in 2017 and founded 6Degrees that same year. They started selling the MyMove worldwide last April.
The company takes its named from the physics term “six degrees of freedom” which refers to the freedom of movement of a rigid body in three-dimensional space.
People with disabilities can access the device through the US Assistive Technology (AT) Act, which provides federal funding to each state to support them.
One of its services allows users to borrow an AT for up to six weeks, see how it improves their independence in daily life, and determine whether they want to purchase it, with federal funding.
The tech is also being applied at two American universities to help students, as well as two corporations to improve employees’ ability to work.
“We want to offer more than digital independence, and work towards economic independence for people with disabilities,” says Berger.
6Degrees is conducting a pilot with Sheba Medical Center, in Ramat Gan, Israel, to combine its technology with virtual reality (VR) headsets for people experiencing phantom limb pain after amputation.
It’s developed a soccer game as therapy which patients play with two full virtual limbs to reduce their phantom pain as an alternative to the current treatment, mirror therapy.
“Your body doesn’t know you lost the leg. It keeps sending you signals to activate the limb, for example to wiggle your toes,” Berger says.
Phantom pains originate in the spinal cord and brain, and experts believe they occur because the lack of input from the missing limb triggers the body’s most basic message that something is wrong: pain.
6Degrees has also recently partnered with the Tel Aviv municipality to help people with disabilities come back to work. It wants to show how devices such as the MyMove benefit the employees and businesses.
The company plans to expand its research with rehabilitating phantom pains in the US, and to distribute its products more widely in the States.