Google's No-Spill Spoon Means That Parkinson's Sufferers Can Eat With Confidence
For the 10 million people living with severe tremors and Parkinson’s disease, eating out can be an undignified, daunting, and unpleasant experience. In response to this particular predicament, four dedicated researchers invented the Google no-spill spoon, a utensil that won’t topple in shaky hands.
The spoon, created by Google subsidiary Lift Labs, uses hundreds of algorithms to remain balanced in trembling hands. Once picked up, it detects the angles and directions of a person’s tremors and then makes adjustments to keep the utensil steady. In clinical trials the device reduced shaking by 76 percent, meaning that more people will be able to eat with confidence.
The spoon, which retails for $295, has a modern and sleek design, allowing users to take it in public without attracting attention. Other tools which aim to solve the same problem are chunkier and more conspicuous, or they focus on steadying the actual hand rather than the device in the hand, which, because it requires a good amount of force, can be uncomfortable for users.
Google acquired Lift Labs, a National of Institutes of Health-funded startup, in September for a non-disclosed sum. Lift Labs is a team of four researchers whose aim is to create tools and technologies that will improve the overall quality of life for people with essential tremor and Parkinsons. And, only two months after their acquisition, it looks as if they have accomplished their goal. Users report being “more relaxed, less embarrassed, and less stressed” when using the spoon.
Lift Labs plans on releasing fork and knife attachments soon. They also hope to add sensors to their devices in order to collected data that will help medical researchers study tremors. To see how the spoon works, watch the video below.
Images: Lift Labs / Vimeo