Google Just Bought the Maker of a Tremor-Steadying 'Smart' Spoon

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Former Staff Writer
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Google has biotech on the brain. The company announced yesterday its acquisition of Lift Labs, a San Francisco startup that creates a smart spoon to steady the dining process for sufferers of essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.

The “device could improve quality of life for millions of people,” said Google, noting that Lift Labs would join its moonshot Google X division. “We’re also going to explore how their technology could be used in other ways to improve the understanding and management of neurodegenerative diseases.”

A purchase price was not disclosed. The Lift Labs team will join Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters

Related: Google to Break Ground on Life-Prolonging Research Facility

The acquisition dovetails nicely with the announcement last week that the Google-backed biotech company Calico is breaking ground on a state-of-the-art life-prolonging research facility in the Bay Area in order to develop drugs to fight age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer.

As opposed to drugs, however, the Google X division aims for technologically-oriented solutions, according to The New York Times, including its forthcoming contact lenses that monitor glucose levels for diabetics and autofocuses the eyes of users who can’t read without glasses.

The Liftware Base Stabilizer, as the smart spoon is called, uses sensors in its handle to cancel 70 percent of tremors, according to the company. The device is priced at $295, and a fork attachment is available, too. Watch it in action below:

Related: Novartis, Google to Develop Contact Lenses to Monitor Blood Sugar

While 11 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s or essential tremor, it is an issue that hits especially close to home for Google founder Sergey Brin, whose mother suffers from the disease.

“I kind of give myself 50-50 odds of getting Parkinson’s in 20 or so years, 25 years,” he told the Times in 2009. “But I also give it a 50-50 shot of medicine catching up to be able to deal with it.”

Related: Google Wants to Build a Model of Perfect Human Health

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