Expressions of Hope: 'Scrolling Therapy' Targets Parkinson's

Harnessing facial movements to fight the disorder while browsing social media

Can a smile help slow the progression of Parkinson's? That might be the case for folks fighting the neuromuscular disorder thanks to "Scrolling Therapy," an A.I.-powered app from Dentsu Creative and heath conglomerate Eurofarma.

The tool lets patients grin, frown, raise their brows and make various expressions to control social feeds. These movements cue videos and advance text up or down, among other functions. More importantly, they help keep facial muscles supple and strong.

The work hits close to home for the team at Dentsu, as agency offshore services director Sebastian Porta has battled Parkinson's for several years.

"Living with the disease is hard enough without literally facing it in the mirror every day" during a 45-minute exercise routine, Porta says. "That's why I felt very motivated to propose a technology that could support all patients through a fun activity."

While still in an experimental phase, the app is available for free on Google Play in English, Portuguese and Spanish, with an iOS version in the works.

"At a time when A.I. is facing skepticism and vilification, this initiative is using its powers for good to benefit society and can support the quality of life of many people," says Rafael Rizuto, agency CCO for U.S.-Hispanic LATAM ops.

Dentsu offices in Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. collaborated on the project.

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