Liftware’s team of engineers and designers created smart utensils for individuals with hand and arm mobility issues that make everyday tasks, like eating, nearly impossible. Their mission is to help people live normal lives independently and improve the quality of life as we age.
Liftware started as a tiny start up in San Francisco and was bought by Google in 2014. Founder of the Liftware Lab, Anupam Pathak, and his team research the families and caretakers of disabled individuals to create the most effective product. “We worked closely with support groups and family members to understand the user’s needs and then develop something useful. We decided to start with eating since that was the most requested activity that people needed help with, though we are now exploring other areas of daily living.”
Pathak holds an initial prototype of the Liftware Spoon.
The Liftware Utensils gives those with disabilities the freedom to independently feed themselves without the assistance of a caretaker. Something as simple as eating a bowl of soup with a spoon – something many do without a second thought – is now a freedom people with diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease can enjoy again or for the first time.
The utensil (which has an additional part to use as a fork) has handle sensors that adapt to the uncontrolled movements of the user. With the use of motors the utensil can twist and turn with these movements to avoid food spilling. Liftware has two versions of the spoon: Steady and Level. Level bends with the user and Steady counteracts tremors to avoid erratic movements.
The Liftware Level Starter Kit.
The next step with this technology is to continue creating tools that will make essential, normal tasks doable for those with disabilities. For example, painting and hair brushing. The starter kits are currently being sold for $195.