Google's latest innovation: A spoon?25 November, 2014 / Articles
Just in time for the holidays, Google is throwing its money, brain power and technology at the humble spoon.
Of course these spoons (don’t call them spoogles) are a bit more than your basic utensil: Using hundreds of algorithms, they allow people with essential tremors and Parkinson’s Disease to eat without spilling.
The technology senses how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced. In clinical trials, the Liftware spoons reduced shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76 percent.
“We want to help people in their daily lives today and hopefully increase understanding of disease in the long run,” said Google spokesperson Katelin Jabbari.
Other adaptive devices have been developed to help people with tremors — rocker knives, weighted utensils, pen grips. But until now, experts say, technology has not been used in this way.
“It’s totally novel,” said UC San Francisco Medical Center neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem who specializes in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors.
She helped advise the inventors, and says the device has been a remarkable asset for some of her patients.
“I have some patients who couldn’t eat independently, they had to be fed, and now they can eat on their own,” she said. “It doesn’t cure the disease, they still have tremor, but it’s a very positive change.”