Google buys high-tech spoon maker, expands healthcare focus

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 10, 2014 3:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc has acquired the maker of a high-tech spoon that helps people suffering from neurodegenerative tremors to eat, the Internet company's latest foray into the healthcare and biotechnology market.

The company is joining the Google[x] division, which focuses on projects such as self-driving cars and drones and which has a Life Sciences group, Google said on Wednesday.

Google did not say how much it paid for Lift Labs.

Lift's tremor cancellation spoon, which costs $295, will continue to be available for sale, Lift said on its website on Wednesday. A sensor-packed handle on the spoon detects the hand tremors that afflict people with Parkinson's disease and Essential Tremor, and uses technology to stabilize itself.

Google said in a post on its Google+ service on Wednesday that it would also explore how Lift's 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 co-founder Sergey Brin has said that he has a higher-than-average chance of contracting Parkinson’s disease, which afflicted his mother.

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Google, the world's No. 1 Internet search engine, has increasingly expanded into health-related services. Earlier this year Google said it was testing a special contact lens for diabetics that is capable of monitoring blood-sugar levels, and in 2013 Google created a separate company, Calico, which develops technologies to tackle health issues related to aging.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Matthew Lewis)