Countless people suffer from the shakes, tremors and other involuntary movements that often result from cerebral palsy, strokes and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. But one company has figured out a way to make something as basic as sitting down and enjoying a meal much easier by creating a “smart spoon.”
Liftware’s recently released product, Level, incorporates the same kind of technology that allows smartphones to compensate for shaky hand movements. Depending on what type of food they’re eating, users insert either a spoon or fork attachment into the electronic handle, which can detect jerky hand movements and accommodate accordingly.
The product is the brainchild of Anupam Pathak, a mechanical engineer who spent several years developing the prototype. He’s featured in a video discussing the new product, along with Danny, a man with cerebral palsy who was instrumental in helping to refine the device.
Danny says he “couldn’t eat soup” and “had to pick up the bowl and slurp,” but “I can eat pasta now, salads, and don’t get food all over me. It’s really wonderful.”
“It’s really an amazing experience to watch Daniel have access to all these different foods and to be able to do that independently,” adds Stanford Stickney, his brother and caretaker.
Technology giant Google acquired Liftware several years ago and it has since been incorporated into Verily, Google’s health and life sciences division. Being able to harness those resources means other technologically advanced products will soon hit the market, ultimately providing those living with disabilities a greater measure of independence, Pathak says.
“The vision, really in the next five to 10 years, is really rethinking what it means to have a disability,” he adds. “With technology, there will be a lot more opportunities to elevate a person’s functionality to be the same or maybe even better than they were before disease or any other physical impairment.”
Watch the video below to learn more.
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