A new spoon for shaky eaters
While most of us take the lifting of a spoon to our mouth for granted, it can be a major challenge for people with Parkinson’s Disease or other neurodegenerative conditions such as essential tremor, a disorder characterised by shaking hands (among other things). These conditions can make eating nearly impossible — but with those people in mind, engineers at San Francisco’s Lift Labs created the Liftware Spoon.
The device is sort of like an electric toothbrush, in that it’s composed of a handle containing the battery and electronics (the main Liftware device), and a removable attachment (the spoon).
Accelerometer sensors in the handle detect the user’s small, involuntary arm movements, then actuators instantly respond by moving the spoon attachment in the opposite direction, essentially cancelling out the tremors.
The result, the company isays, is the ability to guide the spoon relatively smoothly and spill-free into the mouth. More specifically, tests conducted at the University of Michigan indicated an average 75 percent reduction in spoon shakiness, when the device was in use and turned on.
As one commentator says: “Devices like [Liftware] are essential because if the medical sciences can’t find ways to treat or cure illnesses, the next best thing is to find the best possible way to cope.”
The Liftware Spoon should be available later this month, at a yet-to-be-stated price. Potential buyers can make their interest known via the website. Lift Labs also plans to offer other attachments for the Liftware device.
Lift Labs: www.liftlabs.com – Lift Labs describes itself as “a group of highly talented people who are working to create new technologies for the social benefit”.
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