| Parkinson’s Disease Laboratory | Research into better diagnostic tools | The KeySense
diagnostic suite | Copyright 2018 |
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the way I type show anything?
It has long been known that there are patterns in the way each person types. Back in the
1800’s experienced telegraph operators were able to identify their colleagues by listening to
patterns in the rhythm of Morse code being communicated, and during World War II,
American intelligence developed a methodology to distinguish telegraph messages coming
from allies or enemies. In people with any form of movement disorder, there will be a
measurable impact on those typing rhythms and speeds, known as keystroke dynamics.
I am healthy, why should I participate?
As well as studying people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) it is essential to also establish a
baseline of the typing rhythms of people who are healthy and do not have any movement
problems. In this way we can compare and contrast the two separate groups.
When I install Tappy it asks about medications, but only shows drug categories.
How can I match up the brand name of my medication?
Levadopa/Carbidopa: Sinemet, Parcopa, Rytary
Dopamine Agonist: Pramipexole, Ropinerole, Bromocriptine, Neupro, Requip, Miraprex
MAO-B Inhibitor: Eldepryl, Carbex, Zelapar, Azilect
What are the results of research so far?
Existing research has shown that PD results in changes to the characteristics of hand and
finger movement and some of these changes will be detectable as someone types on a
keyboard. The objective of this phase of the research is, by using keystroke dynamics, to
identify and detect those particular characteristics that serve to accurately differentiate
people with PD compared to those without.
How do I know you aren’t stealing my personal information?
This is an important question as most people have heard about, or even experienced, theft
of personal information – whether by credit card fraud, computer spyware, bank details and
The security of your personal information is vital to us. The application that you install on
your computer, Tappy, does not record any information about you or which individual
keyboard characters you type. The data is completely anonymous and comprises
timestamps, whether each keystroke is left or right handed, the section of the keyboard and
timing information. You can view your own data at any time to verify this.
It is also worth pointing out that this is a supervised, university-approved research project,
governed by ethics rules, where the results will be published and where all the research data
is completely anonymous. We are obliged by the ethics approval of the project to treat all
participants and their private information appropriately.
Will Tappy affect the performance of my computer?
No, not at all.
How long do I need to keep it installed?
We need at least 12 months’ data, as this research phase is investigating how characteristics
change over time.
How can I un-install it?
Just run the setup file, TappyInstall.exe, again. It will show you options of ‘Modify’, ‘Repair’
and ‘Remove’. Select ‘Remove’ and click the ‘Next’ button.
Several people use my computer. Can I still participate?
If there are several different people who use your PC under the same login account name,
Tappy will not work properly. This is simply because it doesn’t know which of you is typing at
any point in time, so the results will be meaningless and there is no point in participating
In this situation we recommend that you set up a separate Windows login for each user, e.g.
‘Fred’ and ‘Mary’, and use the Windows ‘Switch user’ function when each of you uses the PC.
That way, if you installed Tappy on the ‘Fred’ account, it won’t be running for ‘Mary’.
What if I want to withdraw from the research?
You can withdraw at any time. Just un-install Tappy from your PC (via ‘Control Panel’ -
‘Programs and Features’). You don’t have to let us know.
Do I get to see my own data?
Yes, of course. Use the ‘Show my data’ menu in Tappy.
Do I get to see the results of the analysis?
This phase of the research is for further data analysis to discriminate between Parkinson’s
and non-Parkinson’s people. We will not provide any results or individual feedback in this
What are the next phases in the research?
Assuming that the research results continue to be successful, the plan is to develop a web-
based Parkinson’s diagnostic suite to be used by both individuals and medical practitioners.