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Google buys maker of smart spoon

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Liftware spoon compensates for Parkinson's tremors

Google has purchased the biotech startup Lift Labs, the makers of an electronic spoon that helps people with Parkinson's to eat by making small movements to compensate for tremors. The startup will be joining Google X, and it'll continue to sell its current product, known as Liftware. A fork, soup spoon, and keyholder were all in the works prior to the acquisition, and it sounds as though work on them will continue. "We're especially excited to work with the Google team to scale our operations and reach even more people who could benefit from using tremor-canceling devices," Lift Labs writes.

At Google X, the team will be investigating how the technology used in Liftware could be applied in other ways to help manage tremors from diseases like Parkinson’s. That's not the traditional interest that you'd expect from Google, but it's increasingly an area of focus. Google has also backed the company Calico, which hopes to extend human life and even partnered to build a pharmaceutical research center recently. Google clearly wants to expand the scope of its business, and Lift Labs is a small but clear sign of what it has in mind. "Their tremor-canceling device could improve quality of life for millions of people," Google writes in a post announcing the purchase. No price was given for the acquisition.

Correction: Calico is partnering with a pharmaceutical company to develop new drugs. This article originally stated that it was purchasing a drug company.