Google launches 'smart' spoon to help steady shaking hands
Hi-tech invention aims to help sufferers from essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease and can reduce shaking by 76%
Anupam Pathak, a senior hardware engineer at Google, shows off the prototype of the Liftware spoon he developed that helps people eat without spilling in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP
Drones, self-driving cars, robots, balloons providing internet access – Google is stretching a long way from search. Now the company has added a “smart” spoon to its portfolio of hi-tech products.
Google has started promoting its Liftware spoon, a utensil that uses hundreds of algorithms to sense how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced.
The product is aimed at people with essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease and, according to the company, can reduce shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76%.
Essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease affect more than 10 million people worldwide, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s mother. Brin has also said he has a genetic mutation associated with higher rates of Parkinson’s. He has donated more than $50m to research for a cure.
Google acquired Lift Lab, the spoon’s maker, earlier this year, and the Lift Lab founder, Anupam Pathak, now works for Google X’s life sciences division, which has made a number of purchases in recent years as the company has shown more interest in the medical field.
The division also owns a stake in DNAnexus, a software company analysing genome sequencing to better understand the genetic factors of heart disease and ageing. It is also working on how nanoparticles in blood might help detect diseases and a smart contact lens that would measure glucose levels in tears to help diabetics track their blood sugar levels.
The spoons are now available for $295.