Liftware utensils with stabilizing technology have been reported to ‘cancel’ hand tremors by 70% in movement disorder patients so that they can eat easily.
Movement disorders have a debilitating effect on simple tasks that most of us take for granted in our everyday lives. Lift Labs, a company that focuses on designing technologies for people with neurodegenerative disease, wants to help those with Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor increase their independence when eating with a new device that compensates for hand tremors. Liftware is a stabilizing handle with utensil attachments that has built-in sensors to detect hand tremor and uses a small computer to counteract the movement, making it much easier to eat with a spoon or a fork.
In a preliminary clinical study involving 11 participants, Liftware stabilizing technology was tested in three critical tasks: holding, eating, and transferring objects with a spoon. When turned on, the device proved to be extremely effective and was reported to reduce tremor amplitude in all tasks by approximately 70%. Liftware works most effectively for people with mild to moderate tremor (4-12 Hz) and has a rechargeable battery that lasts for several meals.
The starter kit which includes a soup spoon attachment costs $295 US online. At this time Liftware does not ship to locations outside of the United States, but Lift Labs and their technology was acquired by Google X, the research division of Google, in September 2014.
Liftware Website: http://www.liftware.com
Pathak A, Redmond JA, Allen M & Chou KL. A noninvasive handheld assistive device to accommodate essential tremor: A pilot study. Movement Disorders, May 2014 Volume 29, Issue 6, Pages 838-842.
Written by Fiona Wong, PhD