If your hands shake and you can’t keep them steady, eating can be a messy, embarrassing affair. You’ve probably even contemplated taking food exclusively from plastic tumblers through a straw.
The problem is more common than many of us think: Essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease affect more than 10 million people worldwide.
Research into self-stabilizing tableware has been around for years, but now there are products that you can buy immediately. The Gyenno, for example, is a self-stabilizing tableware by the Chinese manufacturer of the same name. Its main feature is to balance automatically the utensil’s head against user’s tremors, which keeps food in the spoon. Self-stabilization is activated by pressing a button on the spoon.
Here is the spoon in action:
First things first: Does it work as advertised?
We unboxed this product and tested it with users having mild, moderate and severe tremors due to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. The spoon was most useful for persons with moderate tremors, made little difference for mild tremors, and wasn’t stabilizing enough severe tremors.
Two users with moderate tremors found that the Gyenno spoon made eating easier, smoother and with less food spillage than with a traditional spoon. This is consistent with a study by the University of Michigan, which found that self-stabilizing tableware decreases tremors by at least 70%.
They also liked the interchangeable head between spoon and fork.
Fat hands and water hazards
The spoon lasts three hours and needs the same amount of time to be charged. Charging is done from within the box, which is connected to a USB power source.We noted that the handle is not water-proof, however: Take note when washing at the basin, and be careful when drinking soup!
Besides the capacity to stabilize stronger tremors, our users wished for a thinner handle. Also, the spoon and fork is only half the solution; some users, such as stroke survivors, can only use one hand.
In Singapore, the Ministry of Silver Lining distributes the Gyenno spoon at SGD 499. The Cloud feature, which tracks the patterns of tremors, is currently not available in Singapore, so we’ll have to watch out for future developments.
Special thanks to SPD and S3 for helping us conducting interviews.