Robot Helps Disabled Individuals Eat Unassisted

obi-feeding-robot-7For individuals who suffer a loss of body function due to ALS, Cerebral Palsy, MS, Parkinson’s, or brain/spinal injuries, many simple everyday tasks can be impossible to complete without assistance. Actions, such as eating with a spoon can be unmanageable for patients to undergo alone, requiring an aid feed them one spoonful at a time. To give patients back independence and dignity while eating, the Obi robot was created to allow disabled individuals to eat hands-free, without human assistance.

Obi consists of a small robotic arm with a spoon attachment fastened to the end, which is able to maneuver between four separate bowls of food. Two buttons operate the functions of the arm; one to move the arm between bowls and one to scoop food and bring it to the user’s mouth. Depending on the amount of body function the user has, the buttons can be tailored to suit their needs. These customizations include large tabletop buttons, floor buttons used as foot pedals, or a pillow button and mouth switch for users with no movement below the neck.

Obi is able to identify the location of the user’s mouth through calibration in ‘Teach Mode’, before beginning the meal. This mode requires an assistant to move the spoon into the location of the user’s mouth, enabling Obi to recall this location for future reference. To prevent the spoon from colliding with any part of the user besides their mouth, collision detection technology is included to avoid any obstacles the arm may encounter.
The device’s internal batteries ensure the Obi to remain charged for a length of a full meal, allowing up to two hours of use before additional charging is required. Furthermore, the Obi’s BPA-free bowls and spoon are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer friendly, making cleanup and storage easy.

Robotic medical devices are becoming more common in the health science industry, assisting patients in their daily process to eliminate the need for a caretaker. Eclipse specializes in a large range of medical solutions including prototype systems and medical devices and tools, much like the Obi, to streamline operations and maximize patient safety.

Source: Gizmag