Liftware Steady // Devices of the Week (Senses/Metaphorical)

The Liftware Steady is designed to aid people with hand tremors to comfortably have their meals. Using sensors that detects hand motion and an onboard computer, it distinguishes between intended and unintended motions. The Liftware Steady helps to stabilise 70% of the motion and also helps to reduce spills. With interchangeable attachments, the device can be used as a soup spoon, everyday spoon, fork or spork.

Image from:
Image from:

How does it work?

The computer inside the device sends data to the 2 motors inside the handle and directs it to move in the opposite direction of the tremor, thus counteracting the unintended motion.

Why is this senses?

Honestly, I had no idea what a “sense” device would be. Nonetheless, I figured it is a device somehow connected to our 5 senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. So, I thought a product that improves your senses? At first, I wanted to do some research on a sleeping mask that helps you lucid dream. Interesting aye? But afterwards, I decided, nahhh.

Then, I thought about devices that help to replace or aid the senses. Thus, I decided on finding assistive devices for the disabled and I remembered seeing a device a couple of years back that helps with hand tremors. With a little bit of research, I found it.

  • Intuitive. It is a device that easy to use and understand. It functions in the same way as how you would use your normal cutleries. There is no need for a manual on how to use the product. After reading some reviews of the product, I realised that many users purchase the product for their elderly parents. With its ease of use, even the elderly won’t have any trouble using the product.


  • The charging mechanism of the product is also easy to understand. Just plug in the charging cradle into an outlet and attach the stabilizing handle to the cradle. Works like how you would charge your phone.
Image from:


  • And my favourite pros of the product. *Drum rolls* The emotional boost it gives to its users. I can’t speak for people who have tremors but it must be difficult to enjoy their meals. Especially if they are out for a meal. Some people find it so difficult to feed themselves, that they had to resort to having someone feed them. With the Liftware Steady, it allows people with hand tremors to be independent and not worry about spilling. Reading through reviews, I can’t help but feel touched by the stories of how happy people felt being able to comfortably eat without spilling. One story speaks about how someone was finally able to eat cereal after many years. This is the kind of products that empowers me to be a designer that can change the world, or make someone’s life better.
  • As much as it is easy to use, the size of the handle is definitely a disadvantage. Looking at it from the technological aspect, they probably had to design the handle in that size to accommodate all the sensors, computer and motors. Nonetheless, because of the size of the handle, the grip might be an issue which would take some getting used to. I am sure with the future technological development of smaller chips and motors, the design of the product could be better improved.


  • Unfortunately, I read many reviews of the device not being able to last for very long. One reason was the result of contact with water. As much as the instructions that are given states that the handle should not be in contact with water, I think it can’t be help that it is still in fact a kitchen utensil. Naturally, it comes in contact with a little water, such as the moisture from after cleaning the attachment. Again, this is more of a technological issue, the problem could be easily solved by making the electronics inside waterproof. Easy to say, but probably difficult to make.

As seen from the cons, the device has technological limitations. Probably with the advancement in nanotechnology and waterproofing, we can look forward to better, improved products.


While researching and reading up about the product, I thought this technology could also probably people with anxiety or anyone who experiences trembling.

Personally, I get really nervous when I’m speaking on stage with a microphone. Everyone can probably see my nerves getting the better of me, not from my shaking voice, but my shivering hands holding the mike.

Now, imagine if a microphone has the same stabilising function as the Liftware Steady? I can be rid of this embarrassment. Yay!

On a serious note, it can really help people who have stage fright.

The Smart Garden // Devices of the Week (IoT)

I am guilty of not taking proper care of my plants. I have watched multiple plants died at my hands. Even back in my polytechnic internship days, I had to water several plants in my office, and when I first came, all of the plants were healthy but one was practically dying by the time I was leaving.  My gardening endeavours would have probably been successful if only I had “The Smart Garden”.

The Smart Garden 3

Using smart soil inspired by NASA, the device ensures that the plants receive water, oxygen and nutrients that it needs. It even has a lamp arm, installed with an LED to provide light for the plant.

Pros and cons


Without experience in gardening, we probably won’t be able to recognise specifically what a plant needs. For example, a wilting plant doesn’t necessarily mean it needs water, it might need other stuff such as nutrients or light. Often times, the mistake made in caring for a plant is by giving it more water than it needs. Thus, the smart garden can aid beginners in gardening by automatically identifying exactly what the plant needs.

However, this also points out a con in the device.

With the smart garden, it is essentially doing the job for you. It measures the needs of your plants and provides whatever necessary. So can you actually say that you are growing the plant? Furthermore, it totally removes the human touch.


Instead of automatically providing, what if the smart garden can provide the option to instead inform the owners what the plant needs and thus the responsibility of ensuring the plant’s survival is in the hands of the owner. Thus, the smart garden functions as a tracker and informer.

Nonetheless, the automated care system can prove to be useful when you are away from home for some time. The water reservoir can keep enough water for up to 3 weeks.


The smart garden is meant for small plants, yet they have taken into consideration several design aspects. For example, they included a lamp arm that can be adjusted to various heights (210 – 470mm). They also provide the option to purchase additional extension arms to make it taller. You can’t expect to grow a tree in that small pot, thus, in my opinion, it is a reasonable design.


Lightweight and portable.

Especially with the houses in Singapore becoming smaller and smaller, the small, compact design of the smart garden doesn’t take up too much counter space. Furthermore, you get to grow 3 different types of plants in one go, while still taking up such a small space.


Hidrate Spark 3 // devices of the week (health-related)

Not drinking enough water each day has been a recurring problem for me, to the point that on some really bad days, I get headaches.

So I had always wondered what if there was a water bottle that reminds you to drink up whenever necessary throughout the day?

And that was when I found the Hidrate Spark Smart Water Bottle; now in its third edition, the Hidrate Spark 3.

What does it do?

  • The water bottle glows to remind you to drink some water
  • Tracks your water consumption through a sensor which is then recorded into an app

Would I use it?

If I had USD$54.99 to spare?

Most definitely.

Unfortunately being a poor university student means I can’t afford the luxury of a smart water bottle. My tumbler from Typo will do for now.

Taking into consideration that this is the third edition of the smart water bottle, naturally, we expect that it has when through many scrutinies from users of the earlier editions in order to develop an improved edition. So let’s discuss the pros and cons of these improved Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle.

  1. Availability of many colours to choose from allows for some form of customization for customers.
  2. The ability to be integrated into other apps such as Apple Health, Under Armour Record, FitBit, enables users to conveniently check their health records under one app. They do not need to keep switching apps to check their heart rate in Apple Health then change to the Hidrate Spark App for their water intake.
  3. The silicone material of the sleeve and also the structure of the sleeve with indents allow for an easy grip.
  1. Expensive. USD$54.99 for a water bottle is not something everyone can afford.
  2. One review I read mentioned that the water bottle leaked a little because the lid of the water bottle was loose.

I think one issue that many people often find is that we can’t find a water point to refill our water bottles. An idea (a little far fetched) I would suggest is that the app could show where the nearest water point is whenever the bottle is running out of water.

Another improvement I would suggest is the addition of a temperature sensor to ensure that the water is at a suitable temperature. Studies have shown that drinking lukewarm water is better for your health as compared to cold water. Hence, with the temperature sensor, users can fill up their water bottles to a suitable temperature. (Personally, I only drink cold water, so I figured this could “train” me to drink lukewarm water more often instead.)

I believe that the glowing of the water bottle to remind users to drink is quite attention-grabbing enough. However, I might suggest adding maybe some form of a sound cue for visually impaired people.

Another suggestion would also to include a cleaning kit for the water bottle. Especially since it is a nozzle, it gets dirty easily. I would suggest exploring other bigger nozzles so that the cleaning process would be easier. The detachable lids would also mean the possibility of leaks, hence exploring other designs where users do not need to detach the lid would be feasible.

Special mention:

to another device that I thought was super interesting.

This tattoo isn't decorative

These tattoos let you know when you’re sick.

Posted by PlayGround + on Tuesday, 2 July 2019