Imagine not being able to feed yourself or only being able to eat with your fingers. Eating foods like soup would be very messy and probably out of the question. This would have a severe impact on your diet and your independence. Unfortunately, many people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and other motor control conditions have a great deal of difficulty feeding themselves. Fortunately, some of the better minds in technology have come up with a product that will allow people with cerebral palsy and severe shakiness to sit at the table with their families and feed themselves.
The product is called the “Liftware Level” and it was developed by the Silicon Valley company, Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences). The Liftware Level is basically a self righting, spill-proof spoon that uses the same sensors a smart phone uses to orient itself. These sensors talk to a tiny computer which keeps the spoon level, no matter which way the eater’s arm turns. One of the developers of the device, Anupam Pathak, says the Liftware Level “is able to calculate (movements) thousands of times per second,” making it virtually incapable of spilling. In addition, the spoon part of the device is detachable, allowing the user to replace it with a fork attachment. The Liftware Level is designed to allow people with hand tremors and other similar conditions to do what most people take for granted—feed themselves.
These miracle utensils are selling for $195 apiece, but the manufacturer, Verily, recently donated 24 of them to Ability Now, a Bay Area advocate for adults with physical and developmental disabilities.