The Liftware Spoon in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnauGog-cEM
This week I was fascinated by the challenges of designing
for a disability. In particular, I focused on designing the everyday tools that
can be overlooked by designers of the disability. Sufferers of Parkinson’s
disease can find eating an extremely difficult task given their hand tremors.
As the video above shows, shaking a traditional utensil leads to the food on
the utensil to easily fall off.
Google’s Liftware utensils operate on two essential
principles to mitigate this shaking. First, they don’t try to modify the
sufferer’s hand by restricting it. Rather, they focus on making the spoon adapt
to the hand. Second, they break the length of the spoon into two halves. One half
is the grip and can be shaken by the hand that holds it. The second half is
motorized and adjusts to the shaking of the second half in order to keep the
I think what makes this design successful is A) not trying
to modify the user themselves and B) breaking up the length of the spoon in a subtle
way as to make the spoon instantly recognizable as a spoon.