On Wednesday Internet search giant Google revealed that it has acquired technology startup Lift Labs, maker of a high-tech spoon to add to its Google X research unit.
This would be the search giant’s latest foray into the healthcare and biotechnology market. San Francisco-based Lift Labs is in the business of manufacturing devices with attachments like a fork, spoon or key holder to assist Parkinson’s patient eat and unlock doors, according to the company's website. The technology, called Liftware uses an on-board computer to adapt to a user's tremor. The devices they manufacture are designed to improve the quality of life of people affected by neurodegenerative tremors.
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the tremor-cancelling device, which is priced at $295, will continue to be available for sale. It helps improve quality of life for millions of people suffering from Parkinson's disease.
"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," Google said in a statement.
Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes rhythmic shaking movement in the hands, head and voice that interferes with common daily activities such as eating, drinking and writing. According to experts, around 10 million Americans have Essential Tremor and there is no known cure for Parkinson's or essential tremor. Lift Labs' device is meant to provide an additional option beyond medication.
Lift Labs will join the Life Sciences Division of Google (X), the search giant’s research lab that focuses on projects like balloons that beam Wi-Fi, Google Glass and self-driving cars. The company will work out of Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif, Google said on Wednesday.
Google has increasingly expanded into health-related services. Google (X) is already working on a medical hardware project called Iris, which is developing a special contact lens for diabetic patients that is capable of monitoring blood-sugar levels. Last year the Internet search engine set up another company called Calico, which develops technologies to address health issues related to aging.
"Google will enable us to reach even more people living with Parkinson's or essential tremor who could benefit from using tremor-canceling devices every day," Lift Labs stated.
Lift Labs built its devices with support from a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the company said on its blog.