Smart Spoons Rescue Dinner

Anupam Pathak wants to end the embarrassment the 11 million people with essential tremors or Parkinson’s disease experience when they sit down for a meal. The limited motor function associated with these conditions turns eating into a stressful ordeal, and the University of Michigan Ph.D. student took steps to remedy the problem. He founded Lift Labs, and developed a device to help individuals with tremors eat easier. Dubbed Liftware Steady, motion sensors in the computerized handle detect which direction the device is pulled and moves the utensil attachment in the opposite direction, negating shaky motion. First released in 2013, in less than a year, the popularity and success of Liftware attracted the attention of Google, who quickly acquired Lift Labs.

With the additional support, Lift Labs launched a second product in December 2016 to address the needs of individuals with limited hand or arm movement. The new Liftware Level uses sensors to detect motion in 3-D space and move a flexible joint to keep the utensil attachment at the right angle. Like its predecessor, the Level proved to be a meal saver, especially for people with Huntington’s disease or who have suffered from a spinal injury, cerebral palsy, or post-stroke deficits.

Both the Liftware Steady and the Liftware Level are available at, where starter kits sell for $195. The concept of a smart spoon may make some people scoff, but for those who use Liftware, the device means more than just keeping their shirt clean while eating hot soup; it renews their independence and confidence.