A new free app makes it easier to use iPads for people with shaking hands

A new free app called Staybl uses existing technologies in the iPad to make it easier to use for those dealing with involuntary hand tremors due to conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

The global advertising company Havas Creative’s offices in New York and Germany created the app after two years of working with experts from the German Parkinson’s Association and Parkinson’s patients in Germany and the USA.

Their goal is to improve access to technology for those dealing with Parkinson’s disease and other health problems that cause tremors. Although the app is currently only available for use on Apple’s iPad, its creators aim to bring it to other digital devices and platforms in the future.

“We always talk about how technology should improve our lives, but of course we do not include everyone in these benefits,” said Eric Schoeffler, creative director of Havas in Germany. “Staybl is not a medicine, nor is it a cure. However, it is a technological solution that can provide easier access to the digital world for all people with Parkinson’s and tremors, ”Schoeffler added.

Tremors are one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. Over time, these tremors – which often affect the hands – can make it difficult to perform simple tasks, such as putting on clothes or using mobile devices, and can affect a person’s overall quality of life.

However, using the iPad’s accelerometer, Staybl can detect when the device is shaken due to vibrations, and then respond immediately by moving its web browser on the screen in the opposite direction. This stabilizes the screen so that the user can easily view the web page and keep the device still.

Staybl’s browser makes it easier to surf the web more stably.
Photo: Staybl

In addition, the app’s browser also comes with other features that make it easier to use the iPad for those dealing with earthquakes. For example, it avoids ironing and sliding movements for navigation, provides larger buttons that are easier to press, and offers customizable settings to accommodate shaking symptoms that may vary throughout the day.

You can download the free app through the App Store, even though it is currently only compatible with iPads running iPadOS 14 or later.

Staybl is one of many solutions that technology companies have developed over the years to help those dealing with Parkinson’s-related concussions. Liftware, for example, created an electric spoon to help them with the condition of feeding themselves more stably. Its microchip and sensors can detect vibrations, causing the spoon to move in the opposite direction, thus canceling the movements.

Apple may also be investigating how to stabilize an iPhone’s screen when a mobile user’s hands shake, a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2019 revealed. so that the system can move the contents of the screen back to the center of the screen when there are vibrations.

These are on top of a few existing features that Apple already offers – some of which the company has listed on the accessibility section of its website – that could make the use of mobile devices a little easier for those dealing with handshakes. For example, Apple offers a “Hold Direction” option located under “Touch Accommodations Control” on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod and iPod Touch. It allows users to set how long their fingerprints should touch the screen before the phone recognizes and processes it.