Google buys Lift Labs

Google has announced today that it has formally acquired Lift Labs, the health technology startup company that manufacturers Lift ware for people affected by Parkinson’s.

Lift Labs is in the business of manufacturing devices that cancel tremors and help Parkinson’s patient function in an easier way. The devices they manufacture are designed to improve the quality of life of people affected by neurodegenerative tremors. The spoon the company manufactures has gone viral many times, so I’m sure you’ve seen it on sites like 9gag and Tumblr.

The spoon in question is a high tech device that uses sensors and stabilizers in order to help those suffering from tremors eat more easily. Lift Labs has developed the spoon by repurposing image stabilization technology from cameras to cancel out tremors. Lift Ware is not only a spoon, it is a device that can be connected to different other ones, including the spoon, a fork, keyholder and more, so that simple tasks may remain simple even for those who suffer from neurodegerative tremors.

“Their tremor-canceling device could improve quality of life for millions of people. We’re also going to explore how their technology could be used in other ways to improve the understanding and management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.” – Google’s post about Lift Labs on Google+. 

Google has announced this purchase as part of the expansion for the Life Sciences program within Google X. The search engine giant has also invested in 23andMe, a genetic research and testing service. In the eve of Apple’s HealthKit launch, Google must have picked up on the idea and started expanding the Life Sciences program within the amazing Google X initiative.

Besides Lift Labs and 21andMe, Google has also showed interest in high-tech sensor-enhanced contact lenses that can track diabetes sufferers’ glucose levels. These high-tech contact lenses are the current project Google X Life Sciences team is working on, lead by Andrew Conrad. He described Google X in an interview for the Wall Street Journal:  “Google X is one of the few places where the world’s best physicians and other scientists sit together in a cafeteria eating free food and figuring out how a smart contact lens should work,” Conrad said. “I have a strong belief that this will be fruitful.”

You might recall a certain Baseline Study begun by Google in June. The company decided to dabble with the human body by gathering as diverse data it can from volunteer subjects in order to identify biomarkers that can explain certain people’s predisposition to certain diseases and afflictions that can be lethal such as cancer, hepatitis and heart disease. The Google Baseline Study aims at creating an image of the perfectly healthy human for reference in identifying aforementioned biomarkers.

Having read all this, you can deduce that Google might not be interested in setting up a HealthKit app to turn people into hypochondriacs, rather the company tries to stay on the good side of humanitarians and invests in programs that seem to be helping medical science in the long run. We should keep an eye on Google X in the following weeks, and months, and years, because the initiative sounds very promising and Google has been keeping a clean reputation. Who knows what the lab is developing, so we might be surprised what smart researchers funded by one of the biggest companies on Earth can do.