Parkinson’s patients know all too well the frustration that comes with attempting to use a computer mouse while one’s hands and fingers are shaking. It becomes nearly impossible to accomplish even the most rudimentary computer task or to simply enjoy the pleasures of surfing the Internet. There are two developments designed to assist with these difficulties.
Steady Mouse is a free software download that was first offered in 2005. It was created by self-described computer geek Ben Gottemoller in response to the problems his father, a PD patient, was experiencing. The software has gone through two updates and is still offered for free. Steady Mouse uses computer code to reduce the effect of tremors on the cursor, allowing for easier focus on the object you want to click on. It also provides for locking in settings for multiple users. It is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 and NT. Downloads are available at www.steadymouse.com.
A second approach to solving this issue was developed by IBM physicist Jim Levine. Levine has devised an adapter which is connected between the mouse and the computer. The adapter filters the erratic input from the mouse, narrowing the stream of information to a smoother movement of the cursor on the computer screen. The adapter is dial adjusted to accommodate varying degrees of tremors. These units cost $184.00 (including shipping) from the British firm Montrose Secam. They can be purchased at www.montrosesecam.com.
At a quick glance, both of these solutions appear to be designated only for PC users.