Google acquires an offbeat but intuitive invention – the Liftware Smart Spoon

Posted on Nov 30 2014 - 6:16pm by Sukanya
Anupam Pathak demonstrates an early prototype of the Liftware spoon that is now a part of Google X biotechnology research

Anupam Pathak demonstrates an early prototype of the Liftware spoon that is now a part of Google X biotechnology research

Research at Google is focusing not just on finding cures for lethal diseases but also on something as simple as cutlery. It’s a spoon that seems to have caught the attention of the Mountain View Giant this time. And it is not just any spoon but a grasp stabilizing contraption that looks like a real godsend for people with shaky or trembling hands. Called Liftware, the tremor-neutralizing device is an invention of Lift Labs, an innovatory biotechnology engineering company founded by Indian industrial engineer, Anupam Pathak. Lift Labs was acquired by Google in September this year and Anupam was designated senior hardware engineer of the division that was appended to Google X Labs. 

Created after a meticulous and continual testing process that tried about 100 different models and algorithms, the Liftware spoon aims to help individuals who are resignedly enduring hand tremors and shakiness that deters them from the routine task of having food from a plate or bowl, making it an unpleasant, taxing experience. Generally, the elderly suffering from essential tremors as well as patients of Parkinson disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Hyperthyroidism are the most prone to this condition. This can result in embarrassing clumsiness and the tiring exercise of trying to control arm movement to make sure they don’t spill. Liftware aims to solve this problem thus enabling them to dine as casually as everyone else does, helping them shift concentration from handling the spoon to having a conversation with the person across the table. 

The alarming truth bomb is that though not considered deadly disorders, Parkinson’s (resting tremor) and essential tremor syndrome (active tremor) both affect over 10 million people around the world. Incidentally, Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin’s mother endured Parkinson’s and Brin himself is said to have been diagnosed with a genetic condition that hoists the risk rate at a high level. It is noteworthy to mention that he has donated about $50 million to ongoing cure research efforts.

The automatically operating motion corrective spoon works using the combination of an accelerometer and an actuator. The accelerometer essentially senses the movement dynamics of the user’s hand. This reading is then manipulated by the actuator which adjusts the movement of the handle and scoop of the spoon to regulate the motion, cutting the rate of tremor by a substantial 76 percent. The result is that though the user’s hand shakes, the spoon safely holds the content in its scoop all along the way from the plate to the mouth.

Liftware Anti-tremor Spoon works on an accelerometer-actuator combination

Liftware Anti-tremor Spoon works on an accelerometer-actuator combination

Liftware is powered by a sleek battery that is rechargeable and can go on for days once it is charged. The device will also be commercially available with other useful attachments in the place of spoon such as a fork, a small ladle, keyholder and so on. 

Available now at USD 295, every piece is claimed to have been subjected to severe testing to examine its perfection before it is shipped. 

Should it happen that Liftware doesn’t work for you or that you find it difficult to use, the product is offered with a 30-day money back guarantee. Before ordering the product, you can also try a simple test to determine if it will work for you.

 

The Lift Labs team has so far shipped out about 140 numbers among partnering networks and support groups like International Essential Tremor Foundation, National Parkinson Foundation and the Tremor Action Network. 

 

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