IBM and Montrose Secam have partnered to release an adaptor for a computer mouse that will help users with hand tremors use pointing devices. The devices cost approximately $100 (US) and are available for sale online.
The adaptor plugs into the PS/2 post and the mouse then plugs into the adaptor. If the computer lacks a PS/2 port there is a PS/2 to USB adapator available. The adaptor compensates for the tremors by filtering unintended hand motions, sending only the intentional hand movements on to the computer. It also compensates for difficulties with double clicking. This project was started by an IBM researcher named James Levine.
If you have ever tried to use a computer or navigate a web site you will understand just how valuable this device is to individuals with hand tremors. As many as 10 million people in the United States have a form of hand tremors known as Essential Tremors and another 1 million or so have Parkinson’s, which can also cause hand tremors. These individuals typically do not posses the fine motor control required to use a mouse or similar pointing device, leaving them to use only the keyboard with their computers.
James Levine, IBM, and Montrose Secam should be applauded for their work in bringing this product to market.