Exploring The Field

My Big Question: How does someone with Huntington’s disease struggle when using a remote?

The Significance of my question

My question is meaningful and significant to my teams project because we are hoping that we can create a simplified remote for Tim that has a fewer amount of buttons. When we heard that Tim struggles with using the remote while he watches TV, we wanted to think of a tool that would help Tim so he wouldn’t have to struggle with using the remote anymore. I think my question is important for my teams idea because when we are creating our remote it is important that we are always thinking of ways that this would help Tim. It is also important that we understand why Tim is struggling with the remote so that we know what parts to change and in what ways we should change it. Our goal is to help Tim use the remote without any issues so it is important to understand how remotes work and how Huntington’s disease works.

My Research 


Huntington’s disease affects your muscles in a big way. It causes you to have uncontrolled movements that could occur at any time, poor coordination so that makes it difficult to do everyday tasks such as picking up objects pushing and pulling objects, and it also affects your skeletal muscles. As you can tell all of these symptoms would make it very challenging to use a remote. Hunttington’s usually occurs at the age of 30 or40. The disease progresses  as time goes on. People who have the disease said that they found as time went on they gained more symptoms. The symptoms also get worse and more severe overtime. Tim said that one of his main problems was with a remote, but I wasn’t sure why, but after doing some research on Huntington’s I think that he could struggle with his fine motor skills. He could struggle with controlling his fingers and putting them in the right place and pushing hard enough to get the button to actually press down. When pressing a button your brain has to go through a process. First it has to think about what will happen when the button is pressed, next you have to decide if you want to press the button or not, then your brain has to send signals to your hand telling you to move your finger towards the button and press down. For most of us pressing a button seems like a simple task that we don’t even think about. For someone with Huntington’s this task would be very challenging for them because Huntington’s affects your muscles and your brain and I have learnt that to press a button both your brain and your muscles play very important roles. Since our team has to design a remote specifically to fit Tims needs I started to think about how we could take a regular remote and transform it into an adaptive remote that is Huntington’s friendly. Originally I had the Idea to enlarge the buttons. After doing some research I wanted to revaluate my idea and see if it would still work. I learnt that Tim has trouble controlling his finger and aiming it to press the correct button. With enlarged buttons I believe that that could solve that problem, but I learnt that he also could struggle with putting enough pressure on the button to actually get the button to work. So now my goal is to figure out a way that will have enlarged buttons that don’t require a lot of force from his hand. I was curious if anything has been done in the past on a remote that you can just tap instead of pushing it and then I could take that and build off of it. I discovered that there has already been a touch screen remote in the past, but it is obvious that the company did not think about Huntington’s when they created it. The touch screen is very small and only controls a few buttons. The buttons that the touch screen does not control are all very small, complicated, and complex. If Tim were to use this remote he would have a very difficult time because it would require lots of control of the muscles in your hand and that is not something Huntington’s disease friendly. My idea is to create some sort of remote that is filled with touch screen and enlarged options on the touch screen instead of buttons.

Companies Idea:



                          My Idea:



A Summary on my Sources

  1. “Huntington’s Disease Affects Muscles as Well as Brain.”Catharine Paddock. Website.-I was able to learn more about Hunttington’s disease and how it affects our muscles and our brain. I learnt what some of the symptoms of Huntington’s disease was and how it could impact someones life.


 2.  “Huntington’s disease.”Author not found, Website.- I learnt How Huntington’s disease works and how and when you get it. I also learnt when the symptoms are worse and when they are better.


3. “Overveiw of Theory” Author not Found, Website.-I learnt how a button works and what pieces buttons are made of. I learnt what forces you need to be able to press a button and what process your brain goes through when it does press a button.


4. “Touch Screen Universal Remote” Author not found, Website.-I learnt that there are some companies that have already created some touch screen remotes but there are none that I could find that were Huntington’s disease friendly. The website show an example of a touch screen remote with complicated buttons.


How Exploration Helps

The exploration  Process helped me write and plan out my research because it helped me to create a deep question that is “un-googleable”  It helped me form a question that would be useful to my teams project when we create the remote because I now know more about Huntington’s disease and more about how remotes work. It also helped break down the project into sections because at first this project could seem overwhelming but the exploration project helped me take it one step at a time. The process of explanation made the research easy to write and it was very helpful to have my main big question and then also smaller questions to help answer my big question. I made sure that once I answered all of my smaller questions I would have enough information and research to then answer My big question. My smaller questions had to be something I could look up on the Internet. I found it very helpful to determine what my smaller questions were because then I knew exactly what parts of my big question my small questions would answer. After I  researched my information on the little questions I made sure that I took notes. I recorded what website I got my information from. Then I recorded the main idea I got from the website and then I took notes for some small details I wanted to remember. I found that this really helped me because it helped me to take only the parts I wanted and need from the websites because sometimes it can be difficult going through all of the information and choosing only the important stuff out of it. I found that I got more work done because I used the exploration process. After I took my notes on all of my smaller questions it was quite easy to compile my point form information into a paragraph. If I didn’t use this exploration process it would have taken me a lot longer to write and it wouldn’t be as good quality as my research is now. I have never used this exploration process before but I would like to continue to use this in my future research projects because it really helped me.


My Smaller Critical Questions


  1. How Does Hunttington’s disease work?
  2. How does Hunttington’s disease affect your muscles?
  3. What other parts of your body does Huntington’s disease affect (other than your muscles)?
  4. What muscles do you use to press a button?
  5. Is it easier for someone with Huntington’s disease to Push a button if it is bigger?
  6. Are there currently any remotes that are touch screen/ has there been anything invented to help someone with Huntington’s disease use the remote (such as a simplified remote)?

How I Gathered my Information


To create this project  I used some tools that were new to me and some familiar tools that I have used in the past to help me gather my information. The tool that I have used in the past is google. I used google to research my information. Some new tools that I ended up using was taking notes in the one note. That helped me to keep track of important information. I used Citation machine to help me cite my work in MLA format. It helped me keep track of the websites I used. I found Tinker Cad to be very interesting and fun. I used Tinker Cad to help me design my version of a simplified remote for Tim. I found these new tools very helpful and I would definitely like to use them to help me with future projects.


How I Verified My Information


When doing a project that requires research, it is important to make sure all of your information is true and make sure that it comes from trustworthy sources. I verified my information by thoroughly reading through the sites and checking for any mistakes. Some things that you should check for are things like spelling mistakes, checking who wrote it so you know what perspective the information is coming from, you don’t want somebodies opinion you want facts. You should also check to see when the website was last updated because new things could have happened since the website was written. At the end of the websites URL if it says EDU then that means that it is and educational website. When you google something it is important that you don’t just click the first website that you see. You should be picky and filter only the information that is 100 percent true. When I was researching my questions I checked for all of those things. I made sure that the websites would be 100 percent trustworthy. To cite my work I used citation machine.


My Sources


 Catharine Paddock, Ph.D. “Huntington’s Disease Affects Muscle as Well as Brain.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,Web. 30 Nov. 2016, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314443.php#1.
“Huntington Disease – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,Web. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/huntington-disease.
“Overveiw of Theory.” Neuromechanics of a Button Press,Web. https://userinterfaces.aalto.fi/neuromechanics/.
“Touch Screen Universal Remote for Sale.”Web. EBay, https://www.ebay.com/b/Touch-Screen-Universal-Remote/61312/bn_7023373594.


The Process


The exploration process went well and it helped me to filter all of my information and it allowed me to just use the true information. Next time I could have added more detail to my research and ask more small questions to help me add detail. Next time I do a project I will use the exploration process to make sure my website is a good website to use and all of its information is true and comes from a reliable source.

Adaptive Technology Proposal

On September 24th we connected with Tim and Nicola through FaceTime. Tim and Nicola live in Nicola Lodge. Tim is a person who has Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a disease that effects part of your brain. Huntington’s disease makes his everyday life a bit of a challenge for Tim. When we talked to them, our class had may questions and we were eager to help him so he can have less of a challenge in his life. This interested me because I had never heard of Huntington’s disease before this so I was curious about what Tim would look like and what he would be able to do. After this experience  with them I felt excited to try and think of new ideas that we could make to help Tim, and I am excited to see what our class can do for him. My main thing I want to focus on is helping Tim draw again because when he showed us some of his old drawings, and  our entire classes jaws dropped in amazement because it was very obvious he is extremely talented. Tim explained to us how in the past he loved to draw and he wishes he still could because that was one of his favourite hobbies. The challenge that I am faced with when trying to help Tim, is ability to control his pencil or pen movements. I want to make it easier for him to move his pencil and pen across the paper. Some questions we had to ask Tim to make sure this would be useful for him was “what is your favourite hobby?” and “what is something you wish you could do but you struggle with it?” Some ideas I have that I think might be able to help Tim with his drawings are something that would help him with his dexterity. I thought about something like ring that he could wear on his finger and attach a pen or pencil to it. I also thought about a ball with a pencil through it so he wouldn’t have to hold a pencil because that could be challenging for him to hold. Something else I thought that we could do was get a thin piece of wood and four tiny wheels that he could rest his arm on and move around while he draws. My favourite idea that I had and the one that I want to focus on is a thin piece of metal so he could rest his arm on. We could attach it to the arm of a chair. We could also make it so when he sits in his chair it can stick out straight vertically and when he wants to draw it could slide inward horizantaly toward him. We could do that by adding hinges so it would be easy for him to slide it. The arm rest part could be attached to the arm of the chair by a pole and in the pole we could add holes and a peg that they could screw in. That way he could adjust the hight of it so it will fit with his table. For this idea I think that I could use the help of my classmates, friends, and family. They could help me by giving me their input and opinions on how my ideas could improve and I could see others perspectives on my idea. They could also help me with tweaking the fine details. I could take action on my idea by trying to build a small prototype and I would write down all the measurements and all the materials I would need to build it. For my research on my idea I discovered that plastic would probably work better and be more successful for my idea rather than metal. Plastic would work better because, it is lighter than metal so it would be easy to make stand up on the pole. Another reason why I would use a hard plastics because it would also be stronger than a thin metal sheet. My skills I would need to complete this are, knowledge on how to attach the plastic part to the pole, I would also have to be able to make it adjustable so I would need to be able to add the screw into the pole. The main skill I would need is knowledge on how to build my idea. When I looked up what has been done in the past to help with dexterity there were actually a lot of ideas. I was very surprised with how many inventions that there were to help with keeping your hand steady and still, but I couldn’t find very many on ways it could help with his drawings. There was one idea that someone made that had two pieces of foam up on the sides and some sort of weight on the bottom and then someone could put their arm in it and it would help keep their arm still. I thought this was a very good idea but I don’t think it would help Tim with his drawing abilities. I would need some materials if I were to build this project. I would need a piece of strong hard plastic, A tall thin pole, a drill (to drill holes into the pole), a screw, a hinge. someway to attach it to his chair. Some steps I would need to take is figure out the details such as what we can use to attach it to his chair, I would need to figure out the measurements of some of my materials so I could make sure everything fits together right. I would also have to figure out where to get my materials, and to make my plastic I would need a 3D printer.


Solution Fluency

Define: Our problem that I am trying to solve is that Tim can’t do his art anymore and when he was able to he really enjoyed it.

Discover: I discovered some ideas that others had such as the invention for keeping your hand steady. I also discovered some of my own ideas that I had such as the adjustable arm rest.

Dream: My dream is to help Tim be able to draw just like he could before his disease.

The solution fluency process went well because I think that I was able to think my ideas through and generate multiple ideas and possible outcomes. I think that the quality of my post is good because I took the time to think about my ideas thoroughly and I believe that my idea could help Tim to draw again. Some improvements that I could have made are working out some more of the details and thinking more about the outcome of my invention rather than just the building part.














Plastic vs Metal – Which Material is Better?