More than 1 million Americans experience hand tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease and nearly 10 million other people suffer from a disorder called essential tremor. Eating becomes a challenge, often forcing a person with hand tremors to enlist the aid of a feeding assistant.
Anupam Pathak, an engineer, developed the Liftware spoon, which cancels out the effects of the hand tremor, making independent eating possible. The battery-operated, dishwasher-safe spoon is designed with a chunky handle for easier gripping. It turns on when lifted off the table and vibrates in the user’s hand. “There’s a little motion sensor right near the spoon,“ he explained to NPR reporter Ina Jaffe. “If I had tremor, it’s going to move opposite to what the shaking is doing. So, if I move to the left, it’ll physically move the spoon to the right.”
The Liftware spoon has been available since this past December. It costs $300 and, as yet, is not covered by Medicare or private insurance. Some Veteran’s Administration medical centers will cover the cost.
New attachments for the device are being developed. A fork and soup spoon should be available by the end of June.