Hands-Free Device Gives Back Control to Amputees

November 13, 2018

by: Jo Sarah Stanford, Bridges for Peace

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Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but for people who have lost an arm or have limited mobility in their hands, access to smart phones and computers can be difficult, if not impossible. 6Degrees, founded by engineers Miri Berger and Aryeh Katz, has invented a hands-free computer mouse called the Crescent to address this problem.

Berger saw the need for a hands-free computer mouse while studying with a professor who was an amputee. Katz, a former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, suffers from complex regional pain syndrome after being injured by an improvised explosive device, and knew first-hand the daily struggles disabled soldiers face. The pair originally designed the Crescent for amputees, but soon discovered that it also worked for people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s or even carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Crescent is a band that fits to the upper arm and uses motion via Bluetooth to access computers, phones and other smart devices—just like a regular computer mouse or touch screen would. Moreover, it takes only seven minutes to master. What sets it apart from other motion detecting devices is its unique algorithm that adapts to the individual user, Berger explained to ILTV Israel Daily. “So if he has a tremor, it will filter it out, similar to noise filtration. A click [is] either twisting your arm or lifting your shoulder. If you do it for a few times, it learns that’s your preference and keeps going.”

Currently in the pilot phase, the Crescent is already showing promising results. “Today with our technology we can bring handicapped people to a point that they will be able to do things like [a] normal person, and this is exactly what this device doing,” says user Ziv Shilon, a lower left arm amputee. “I could do some amazing stuff with this thing.”

Berger and Katz, who are now married, eventually hope to supply the Crescent to injured soldiers, but are also thrilled at how versatile the device has become. “Our heart has always been on helping people. And their reactions keep us going.”

Photo Credit: www.6degrees.com

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