Google acquired Lift Labs, the company that created a spoon to cancel out shakiness and make it easier for those with hand tremors to eat.
The New York Times first reported Google’s plans to announce the acquisition, but the Google representative who spoke with NYT did not disclose how much the deal was worth. Google officially announced the acquisition at noon on Wednesday.
Here’s the announcement on Google+:
Today we’re welcoming the Lift Labs team into Google[x]. Their tremor-cancelling device could improve quality of life for millions of people. We’re also going to explore how their technology could be used in other ways to improve the understanding and management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.
The San Francisco-based company rolled out Liftware last December and has since been helping anyone with mild, medium, and severe tremors. The spoon is attached to a device that counters shakiness and balances out the spoon. The company claims to cancel 70% of tremors.
Around 10 million Americans have Essential Tremor, which is a neurological condition that causes shakiness in the hands, head and voice. And more than 40% of them cannot cure their tremor with medication.
Earlier this year, we spoke with Lift Labs CEO Anupam Pathak. He said he decided to start with the spoon based on feedback from a patient support group he spoke with. But they plan to roll out fork and knife attachments as well.
“It really boils down to the impact, what I wanted to do. I was really working on technologies that had a lot of applications but I chose to pursue this one because it has such a direct impact on somebody’s quality of life,” Pathak told Business Insider. “I think it’s so much more meaningful to know that something you’ve created is helping somebody.”
One liftware device costs $US295 with each additional attachment priced at $US19.95. Since this is pretty pricey, Pathak decided to start an Indiegogo page to crowdfund donations so anyone who couldn’t afford to buy Liftware on their own would still benefit from the technology.
The Indiegogo campaign made it possible for Liftware to send 115 devices to those who couldn’t afford it, charging just a small fee for shipping. Lift Labs partnered with the International Essential Tremor Foundation to distribute the devices. The Indiegogo campaign ended in March, but Lift Labs still features a donate button right next to the order button so that anyone can help deliver a Liftware spoon to those who need it.
Pathak says Liftware can be life-changing for someone with a tremor: “It’s the difference between not being able to feed themselves and being embarrassed in public versus actually eating comfortably.”
Pathak and some Lift Labs employees’ will be joining Google in its Mountain View headquarters.
Watch this video to see what a difference Liftware can make:
Note: We updated the post to reflect that Google officially announced the acquisition.