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Google X firm develops vibrating spoon to help Parkinson's sufferers eat

A Google-owned company has developed a tool that could help those suffering with Parkinson's or essential tremor.

Lift Labs, which Google recently acquired, has created a spoon that vibrates to counteract its user's tremors, making eating easier.

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The project, dubbed Liftware, aims to remove some of the frustration encountered when eating by Parkinson's or essential tremor sufferers, allowing them to function independently and socialise during meals.

The device automatically detects the user's tremor and stabilises it, reducing the likelihood of spilling or dropping the food being eaten. So far, the company has recorded a 70 per cent reduction in tremors for eating-related tasks when using the product.

Liftware is portable, making it easy for users' to take with them wherever they are eating and is designed to be easily cleaned. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery, which should last for several meals.

The company's founder, Anupam Pathak, believes the utensil's technology could eventually be incorporated into other objects such as keys, makeup brushes and other handheld tools.

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Following the acquisition by Google, Lift Labs has been integrated into the search engine giant's Google X or moonshot division. Google X's main remit is to develop "science fiction-sounding solutions" to current problems, so who knows just what the Liftware technology could ultimately be applied to.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.