Two New Technologies We’re Excited About

Two New Technologies We’re Excited About
January 25, 2017 Astute
In Education, Movement Disorders

While we work everyday on a product that we hope betters the lives of those with movement disorders, we know there are many others that are working on other products that are trying to do the same thing.

We’re all in this together. And so, we’re excited about two recent announcements that have been made about other research being done in the area of movement disorders.

A spoon that reacts

It’s one of the biggest challenges and yet the most basic of needs … eating. For those with movement disorders, the simple act of raising a utensil to the mouth can be difficult if not impossible.

We’re excited about the Liftware Level for a couple of reasons. First, because it is a spoon that is so reactive that it can allow a person with a disorder to feed himself or herself. And second, because it caught the attention of the technology mainstream as it was featured in an article on Fast Company.

The Liftware Level has sensors on both sides of the handle to accommodate a wide variety of hand movements while remaining level. You can watch a video of the spoon in action on Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/3066331/innovation-agents/verily-created-a-spoon-that-helps-people-with-movement-disorders-eat-indep.

And, almost as importantly, the charging device is easy enough to maneuver for those with the same disorder.

To say that the device has the capability to change lives is an understatement.

Stefanie Putnam, who was paralyzed from her shoulders to her hands due to a swimming accident, has been providing feedback to Verily (the developers of the spoon) throughout the product’s development. After using the spoon regularly, she had an epiphany. She realized that not only could she feed herself with the spoon, she could feed others.

“It dawned on me in that moment that I could have a family,” she told Fast Company. “I could have children someday and be able to take care of them.”

The Liftware Level costs $195 and was made available to the public on December 1. A fork attachment is also available for about $35.

Typing with the brain

There are a number of technologies already available for those with movement disorders to be able to type, many of which rely on eye or facial movements.

But a team of researchers at Stanford University have made substantial improvements to a technology that directly reads brain signals to type.

According to a release from the university, the technology involves implanting a device in the area of the brain that is used to direct hand and arm movements.

“In an experiment conducted with monkeys, the animals were able to transcribe passages from the New York Times and Hamlet at a rate of up to 12 words per minute,” the release states. “Eventually the technology could be paired with the kinds of word completion technology used by smartphones or tablets to improve typing speeds.”

The team is now running a clinical trial of the technology, testing with humans.

“If the group is successful,” the release states, “technologies for directly interpreting brain signals could create a new way for people with paralysis to move and communicate with loved ones.”

Read more and watch a video of the technology in action on the Stanford website: http://news.stanford.edu/2016/09/12/typing-brain-sensing-technology/.

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