Staybl App Compensates for Hand Tremors When Using Digital Devices

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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A person shouts into a megaphone to make an announcement.

The global advertising company Havas Creative has launched an application — called the Staybl app — that’s designed to make the use of digital devices easier for people, including Parkinson’s disease patients, who experience involuntary shaking known as tremors.

The new Staybl app was developed in a collaboration between the Havas offices in New York and Germany over the last two years, with the goal of improving access to technology for the 70% of Parkinson’s disease patients, among countless others, with tremors.

These tremors, especially in the hands, can present significant barriers to the use of smart devices like tablets or phones, Havas noted in a press release announcing the launch.

“We always talk about how technology should improve our lives, but we don’t naturally include everyone in those benefits,” said Eric Schoeffler, chief creative officer of Havas in Germany.

“Staybl is not a medicine, nor is it a cure. However, it’s a technological solution that can provide easier access to the digital world for all people with Parkinson’s and tremors,” Schoeffler said.

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The new app is designed to work with the same features as a standard internet browser, while simultaneously taking advantage of a smart device’s internal accelerometer. The accelerometer measures when the device is moving, how fast, and in what direction. When the device is shaken as a result of a tremor, the app instantly moves the browser in the opposite direction, helping to stabilize the on-screen display.

Other features include the removal of swipe and slide gestures that can make device use more challenging for people with tremor or other hand problems. Staybl uses other visual elements, including vertically arranged buttons and larger text, to make reading easier.

Havas worked with experts at the German Parkinson’s association (GPA) and patients in Germany and the U.S. to test the app and improve its design.

“Parkinson’s is a disease that confronts those affected with everyday challenges that are not top of mind in society,” said Friedrich-Wilhelm Mehrhoff, managing director of the GPA.

“We are grateful for Havas’ commitment to inclusivity and looking beyond traditional medicine therapies to make a difference,” Mehrhoff said, adding, “We appreciate the collaboration with Havas and believe that the Staybl app can improve the lives of those suffering from Parkinson’s.”

The app is currently available for free download on iPads, with a goal to expand the technology to make it accessible to other devices in the future.

“Staybl underscores what is possible when creatives and technologists come together to positively change the way we experience the world we live in. Our hope is that Staybl will be a catalyst for change and its accessibility features will be native to the smart devices we use every single day,” said Dan Lucey, chief creative officer of Havas New York.

“I’m a firm believer in using business as a force for good, and Staybl is just one of the ways we are doing that,” Lucey added.