When I first started Liftware in 2010, my goal was to help people suffering from movement-related disorders live more independently and fully. Often, everyday tasks that most people take for granted can be a struggle for individuals with mobility concerns. For example, people living with hand tremor (either from conditions like Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor) often experience difficulty holding their utensils to eat. Few things are more basic to a sense of independence than being able to feed yourself. With this in mind, we developed Liftware Steady (originally called “Liftware”), a computerized stabilizing handle and a selection of utensil attachments designed to counteract the effects of hand tremors so that users can eat with confidence.
But motion and movement disorders aren't limited to those living with hand tremors. People who’ve experienced spinal cord injury or post-stroke deficits, or who have conditions such as Huntington’s disease, or cerebral palsy (CP) may have significantly limited hand and arm mobility. There are more than 200,000 cases of CP per year in the United States alone. The problems these individuals face include reduced control over reflexes and muscles, which may impact their ability to eat independently since their range of motion may be too limited to even bring their hands to their mouths. The Liftware team wanted to help these people, too.
We started by working with physicians and watching how individuals with various movement conditions move and eat—and realized that the device needed to be able to stay level, regardless of how someone maneuvered their hands and arms. We made adjustments to our software algorithms. The team rapidly prototyped handles that were easy to hold but could still bend and twist in different directions. The design was then made sleeker to blend in better with other household items.
Today, I'm happy to announce that we are ready to share Liftware Level with the public. With sensors inside the handle, Liftware Level knows what position your hand is in at all times and adjusts its position to accommodate limited hand and arm mobility. We've seen that Liftware Steady, our original product, has helped those suffering from hand tremor relax and enjoy the company of those around them instead of worrying about the task at hand.
As we introduce Level to the broader community of those living with limited hand and arm mobility, we hope it will turn the everyday task of eating into a more pleasurable experience. That's why we're partnering with the Huntington Disease Society of America and Teva to give away Liftware Level Starter Kits, which includes the electronic handle and a soup spoon attachment, to the first people who apply.
Find out more about Liftware and our products at liftware.com.
Posted by Anupam Pathak, Creator of Liftware