Lift Lab, a Google owned company, has invented Liftware Steady – an electronic stabilizing handle. This stabilizing handle comes with different attachments including a spoon, fork and spork. This Assistive Technology (AT) bridges the gap for people with hand tremors, mostly related to Parkinson’s disease, allowing them to have a more pleasant eating experience.
Liftware Steady targets people with hand tremors, which is mostly due to Parkinson’s disease. The function that this product serves for people with hand tremor has helped many with the everyday task of eating. This AT has sensors that detect unwanted hand movements and direct two motors in the handle to move the utensil attachment in the opposite direction of any detected tremor to allow for a pleasant eating experience.
This AT is easy to use and reliable. A user selects the attachment they want to use and connects it to the handle. Then, they can start eating with ease and once done can detach the attachment and rinse. A user can then put the device to charge although with one charge the device can last for multiple meals. While this device makes eating easier, I can’t help but wonder if it makes the process of connecting an attachment and plugging it in to charge easy for people with hand tremors.
In my opinion, this AT touches on the Social and Functional Solutions Model of disability. The Social Model states that “Disability is an avoidable condition caused by poor design”. This AT proves that due to its good design, those living with hand tremors can overcome this challenge and once again eat without the struggles of hand tremors. The device allows users to be independent and to achieve specific goals with efficiency and satisfaction.
The creative and usable design of this handle is in part due to individuals who noticed this limitation due to hand tremors, and designed this technology to allow those with the limitations to be able to eat with ease again, touching on the Functional Solutions Model where innovation overcomes the limitations of a disability.
The size of this AT is key in aiding its success. The handle is designed to be easy to hold for those not only with hand tremors but also individuals with arthritis. The size of this AT, in my opinion, falls under the Social Model of Disability – Its design allows for the user to eat independently and without the limitations of their impairment.
One of the negative attributes that I noticed about this AT was the price. This AT starts at $195USD, with only the spoon attachment. If a user would like to obtain a fork or any other available attachment, it will cost them an extra $34.95 for each. This can be a steep price to pay for a utensil in most people’s eyes and could ultimately exclude some users from obtaining this AT.
“Liftware Steady.” Liftware, www.liftware.com/steady/.