By James Hamel
If you have ever met me, you may have noticed I have a hand tremor. It’s not because I am nervous, drunk or a terrorist (yes, on planes people say crazy stuff). It is an essential tremor (meaning not Parkinsons and not going to kill me) that I have had since adolescence that has worsened as I got older. It is embarrassing in all manner of social situations because I never know what others are thinking about me and also because it can make doing small tasks like hitting the right button on a touch screen or picking up a straw I dropped that much more difficult.
So recently I researched several studies which said wearing weighted things around your wrists lessened the severity in some patients by a noticeable degree. In the past I have eschewed accessorizing with rings, bracelets or even any watches. Seriously, before now I never wore a watch. Now I wear my Apple Watch every day because it literally changed my life.
Let’s backtrack a bit. After reading about these studies on a crazy whim I pitched the idea of a test of the Apple Watch to Apple itself to see if wearing it aided in my tremors and if a person with tremors could easily use the touchscreen on the smallest model it makes—the 38mm. Much to my surprise given the Apple Watch was just being launched, Apple said yes and sent me a sample copy. Which an intruder into my home promptly stole.
Undeterred and after going to my Renter’s Insurance company which was more than helpful, I went back and bought an Apple Watch of my own on the open market. It is the watch I still have now with an insane number of variously styled Apple Watch Bands. For those who don’t own an Apple Watch, the ability to change your bands suiting your mood is the most fun part of being in the club.
So how well was I able to manipulate the Apple Watch touch screen with my tremor? Well after some advice from Apple itself under the Accessibility setting on my iPhone I turned on both Reduce Motion and Reduce Transparency. In doing so I have never had a problem hitting the right Apple Watch app on the touch screen barring a couple of times. The watch makes a habit of doing what I want which is an important finding given up to 10 million people in the US alone suffer from some sort of tremor.
As for my tremor I have been wearing my Apple Watch with weighted accessories on my other wrist and fingers with the end result being my tremor is less by 70% to where I no longer feel self conscious. In fact, a lot of times I forget I have a tremor at all. And that is the greatest gift anyone could have given me. Thanks Apple Watch.