Google buys Lift Labs, maker of health tech for degenerative disease

Lift Labs has developed a high-tech spoon to replace frustration with fun for those who combat tremors and find eating a difficult experience -- and Google wants in.

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Credit: Lift Labs

Google has acquired Lift Labs, makers of a smart spoon which combats tremors suffered by those with Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The tech giant revealed the purchase on Wednesday. In a blog post, Google said Lift Labs will join the firm's research arm, Google[X].

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San Francisco-based Lift Labs is the developer of smart eating equipment laden with sensors which detect tremors in the hand and compensate accordingly. The creators of the product, which comes with multiple attachments including a spoon, fork, and deep soup spoon, say these sensors then relay tremor data to make the equipment stabilize itself in response.

For those suffering with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, or other afflictions which cause bodily tremors, such equipment can take the frustration out of what should be an enjoyable activity.

The $295 Liftware system will remain on sale despite Google's acquisition, and the team say that the buyout will help Lift Labs expand its operations.

"Their tremor-canceling device could improve quality of life for millions of people," Google said. "We're also going to explore how their technology could be used in other ways to improve the understanding and management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor."

Financial details were not disclosed.

Google's acquisition marks the latest step the company has taken into the biotechnology market. The deal may also hold a more personal note for the tech giant due to co-founder Sergey Brin, whose mother suffers from Parkinson's disease. The Google executive has previously said he has a higher chance than normal of developing the condition in the future.

The Google[X] division has a Life Sciences group, which is currently working on sensor-laden contact lenses for diabetics which monitor glucose levels. Other Google[X] projects include driverless cars and balloons which provide Internet access.

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