LOS ANGELES (dpa) – Shaky hands or tremors can make the simple act of lifting a food-filled spoon to your mouth in a restaurant into a high-risk challenge. Now there is hope for people afflicted by the disease, thanks to a high-tech spoon that cancels out the tremors.
“A lot of social interaction revolves around eating,” Kelvin Chou, a neurology professor at the University of Michigan who worked on the development of the spoon, told the New York Times recently. “It’s embarrassing for them, and they feel like people are watching them all the time.”
About 10 million Americans suffer from essential tremors, according to media reports. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s cause the tremors, which are more likely to be noticed in the hands, but may affect the arms, head, eyelids, or other muscles.
An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Tremors are most common in people older than 65.
Lift Labs, a biotech company, developed the spoon with the brand name Liftware. Stabilising technology is integrated in the handle of the device. Sensors in the handle detect the tremor. The front of the spoon vibrates to counter the movements of the hand.
“The device is amazing,” said Joe Bremhorst who suffers from tremors told ABC news. “It’s a lifesaver for those who can’t get food into their mouths.”
The San Francisco-based company is already offering a fork to attach to the handle instead of the spoon and the battery-operated device will soon come with additional attachments, including a way to attach a key holder to make it easier to open doors for those who struggle with shaky hands. The high tech spoon retails for 295 US dollars but the company also provides donated spoons to those who cannot afford to buy one.