Google is throwing its money, brain power and technology at the humble spoon. But these spoons 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. 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 doesn’t cure the disease — they still have tremor — but it’s a very positive change.
UC San Francisco Medical Center neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem
More than 10 million people worldwide, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s mother, have essential tremors or Parkinson’s disease. Brin has said he also has a mutation associated with higher rates of Parkinson’s and has donated more than $50 million to research for a cure. But the Lift Labs acquisition was not related, Jabbari said. The search giant’s division called Google X Life Sciences is also developing a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears for diabetics and is researching how nanoparticles in blood might help detect diseases.