Lift Labs, which is developing a spoon and other devices to help people with tremors, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Rock Health and undisclosed angel investors in Silicon Valley. The San Francisco-based company had previously raised $800,000 from the National Institutes of Health. Lift Labs is presenting at Rock Health’s Demo Day on Sept. 24 in San Francisco.
Lift Labs Launches, Raises Seed Round for Anti-Tremor Technology
Initial product is Liftware, revolutionary electronic device to improve quality of life for those with Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor (ET)
San Francisco, CA – September 18, 2013 – Lift Labs today announced its official company launch. With backing from Rock Health and $1M in seed funding from Silicon Valley angel investors, Lift Labs is developing a suite of home health hardware to improve quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor. The company’s initial product is Liftware, an anti-tremor spoon to assist with eating.
Developed by a team of mechanical engineers led by Berkeley-trained Anupam Pathak, Ph.D, Liftware is designed to respond to the user’s tremor movements and actively cancel them out.
“Essential Tremor (ET) affects up to 220 million people worldwide, and can be debilitating, turning the simple task of eating into an exercise in futility or embarrassment,” said Dr. Pathak, Lift Labs CEO.
The original Liftware device was developed with an $800K grant from the National Institutes of Health. The announcement brings the total company financing to date to $1.8M. The device was built using the same technology used in the iPhone to detect and, in this case, to correct tremor. Clinical Studies show Liftware reduces tremor by over 70%. In fact, the device improves with more pronounced hand tremors. The device has two parts: a removable handle which contains the electronic components, and the spoon itself, which is stabilized during use. Unlike costly, invasive medical interventions, Liftware improves quality of life at a low cost with no surgery or medications required.
“We recognize the innovative nature of the Liftware device and its positive contribution to well-being for those living with Parkinson’s or Essential Tremor,” said Rock Health CEO Halle Tecco. “At a time when healthcare spending is spiraling, this is a relatively low cost, practical approach that represents the kind of out of-the-box thinking that’s called for today.”
Studies show that as many as 75% of those with serious tremor avoid going out to restaurants due to embarrassment and discomfort. Liftware is removing this unnecessary isolation, and significantly improving quality of life.
“Using Liftware, I could eat soup for the first time without embarrassment,” said Satoko Miller, a patient with Essential Tremor (Video testimonial here).
Liftware offers “a non-invasive method to greatly improve patient’s lives and increase overall independence,” said Dr. Jill Ostrem, MD, Medical Director at the UCSF Surgical Movement Disorders Center, who added that she is “eager for the Liftware device to be released,” and believes “there is great potential for this and other active cancellation of tremor technologies to change the lives of many patients.”
Lift Labs has begun taking orders for Liftware devices, and has also announced a partnership with the International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF). In order to make Liftware accessible to those without the ability to pay, donations will be taken, and individuals in need will be identified and matched through the IETF. Through this partnership, Lift Labs plans to spread awareness of Essential Tremor while positively impacting the lives of a broad number of people.
Facts about Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor (ET):
- Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected (PDF.org)
- An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease.
- Medication costs for an individual person with Parkinson’s average $2,500 a year, and therapeutic surgery can cost up to $100,000 dollars per patient.
- 10 million people in the US are living with ET
- Few effective prescription medications are available for treating ET
- Quality of life is a major problem for people with ET. Daily activities such as feeding, drinking, grooming and writing become difficult if not impossible. Many people with ET are too embarrassed to go into public and so remain isolated in their homes (EssentialTremor.org)
- The Liftware device has been proven in clinical trials and has been shown to provide highly effective stabilization, no matter how severe the user’s tremor
Pre-orders for the Liftware device are now available at www.liftlabsdesign.com.
About Lift Labs: Liftware is a new product from Lift Labs. The company is focused on the development of new technologies for improving quality of life and human performance. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has received highly competitive SBIR (Phase I and II) grant awards.The company combines the talent of business directors, medical advisors and engineers to create cutting-edge products with broad impact. The developed products have been patented domestically and are pending internationally. For more information about Lynx Design, visit http://www.liftlabsdesign.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.