Google is throwing its money on technology, brain power and now on humble spoon. This technology senses that how a hand is shaking and then it makes instant adjustments to stay balanced. In the testing process, the Liftware spoons reduced the shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76 per cent. According to Google spokesperson Katelin Jabbari, “We want to help people in their daily lives today and hopefully increase understanding of disease in the long run.”
This spoon is bit more than the basic utensil spoon; Google has used thousands of algorithms to help the people who are suffering from essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease to eat without spilling. The other adaptive devices have been developed for the help of those who are suffering from tremors, rocker knives, weighted utensils, pen grips. But according to experts till now technology has not been used in this way.
According to Dr Jill Ostrem, Neurologist at UC San Francisco Medical Center, who specializes in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors, “It’s totally novel.” She helped by advising the inventors by saying the device, which has a fork attachment, has been a remarkable asset for some of her patients. As per Dr Jill Ostrem, “We have few patients who couldn’t eat independently they need help to be fed, but now they can eat on their own. It’s true it will not cure the disease because they still have tremor, but it’s a very positive change for them.”
In world more than 10 million people have essential tremors or Parkinson’s disease, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s mother. According to Brin, “He also has a mutation associated with higher rates of Parkinson’s and has personally donated more than $50 million to research for a cure”. But it was not related with the acquisition of Lift Labs.
Anupam Pathak, the founder of Lift Lab said, moving from a small, four-person startup in San Francisco to the big Google campus in Mountain View has freed him up to be more creative and technically advance as he explores how to apply the technology even more creatively and broadly. Team of Lift Lab works at the search giant’s division of Google known as; Google(x) Life Sciences, which is also developing a smart contact lens to measures the glucose levels in tears for diabetics and is researching that how nano-particles in blood might help detect diseases. Joining the Google and working in Google(x) Life Sciences was motivating, said Google(x) Life Sciences, but still his main focus remains on people who are now able to eat independently with his device. He said, “If you build something by your hands and it has that sort of an impact, it’s the greatest feeling ever”.
In September, Google got into the no-shake utensil business by acquiring a small, National Institutes of Health-funded startup called Lift Labs for an undisclosed sum. According to Pathak,“As an engineer we likes to build things, that’ are more validating thing that can happen”. The more he added that we are hoping and trying to add the sensors in the spoons to help medical researchers and providers better understand measure and alleviate tremors.
Shirin Vala, 65 old resident of Oakland had an essential tremor from last one decade and she was at her monthly Essential Tremor group at a San Ramon medical clinic in the starting of 2014 when researchers developing the device introduced the idea and asked voluntary help. As it was refined, she tried it out and gave them feedback. And when product hit the market at $295 apiece, she bought one. Without the spoon, Vala said eating was really a challenge because her hands trembled so hard food fell off the utensils before she could eat it. ‘I was shaking and I had a hard time to keep the food on a spoon, especially soup or something like an olive or tomatoes or something. It is very embarrassing. It’s very frustrating,’ she said. The spoon definitely improved her situation and now it is expected that this spoon will improve the situation of others as well.