A team of scientists and engineers behind Lift Labs wants to make daily life for people affected by essential tremor and other movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease a little easier.
The San Francisco startup has just raised $1 million from angel investors in the Valley in preparation for the launch of its first product, Liftware.
It’s a spoon designed to detect a person’s tremor and move the opposite way, to assist the person with eating. The base of the spoon is embedded with sensors, a microcontroller and tiny motors. When the sensors detect the motion of a tremor, both horizontally and vertically, the microcontroller uses that data to direct the motors to move opposite the tremor.
In clinical studies, the spoon reduced tremor by about 70 percent, the company said. While it doesn’t entirely cancel out a tremor, these testimonial videos show that it makes quite a difference.
The spoon head can be detached from the base of the device, and when I talked with co-founder Anupam Pathak earlier this summer, he said the company eventually plans to offer different attachments. For now, though, the spoon is available on the company’s website for $295. Lift Labs is also running a donation-based program in partnership with the International Essential Tremor Foundation in which it will offer the spoon for no cost to a select number of people who don’t have the ability to pay for one.
Lift Labs developed the device with an $800,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health and has been working as part of the Rock Health accelerator program this summer to prepare for launch.
An estimated 10 million people in the U.S. live with essential tremor.