Liftware, a new type of technology created by Lift Labs, part of Lynx Design, can help improve the lives of people with essential tremor (ET). Liftware, a line of eating utensils in product development, uses tremor stabilization technology based on the research of Anupam Pathak, Ph.D., P.E.Pathak, founder and CEO of Lynx Design, explains the research and premise behind Liftware.
The idea is to use active cancellation (which is currently in noise cancelling headphones) to stabilize larger scale motion, he says. At the University of Michigan, I was doing my PhD on new materials that can be used for active cancellation in the military.
I figured out how to make the hardware for active cancellation of human tremor very small, and realized that this would be the perfect application for active cancellation technology.In his studies, Pathak noticed little technology has been developed to help people with essential tremor and Parkinsons disease. Pathak says, People have tried making contraptions that force a persons tremor to cease, but these looked like robotic arms that I would hate to use in public. I thought that the concept of active cancellation would be of huge help here.
Rather than forcing a hand with tremor to stop moving, which can cause pain and discomfort, Liftware responds to tremor and stabilizes what a person is trying to hold.
The first product is a spoon which constantly steadies itself even while the user may be shaking. When people with ET use our device, the effect is pretty remarkable, says Pathak. We often see people spilling food everywhere with a regular spoon, but with Liftware people are able to bring food from the plate to their mouth successfully and with ease.
Pathak tested the technology through clinical trials involving 15 volunteer patients at the University of Michigan. A neurologist first characterized the severity of tremor for each of the participants, and had them perform basic tasks (eating, moving objects, etc.) using Liftware.
The patient and neurologist were unaware whether active stabilization was turned on or off during the trial.We were able to measure with our instruments an average 75% reduction in tremor from all of the people using the device, Pathak says. In addition, we showed a clinical improvement in tasks involving eating and manipulating objects. We will be publishing these results in the coming months.