Brandon is a very capable young man. There are few things he can’t do. Unfortunately feeding himself is a difficult task. Him and his therapist have attempted many different methods to accomplish this task, including using weight resistance and two hand support. Methods using his own hands have not been successful. To gain his independence, we are undertaking the task to build a device with an interface he can use to replace his arms. He enjoys foods like pizza, pasta, peas, corn and pudding. He will be able to lift his favorite food straight to his mouth with the push of a button.
Brandon has CP and struggles with feeding himself. Our task is to design and build a device in which Brandon can use independently to bring the food from a plate to his mouth. The device will be user friendly, easy to clean, and economical.
Obi a 6 DOF arm that scoops up food and brings it to mouth height. It is one of the best solutions for independent feeding but it is very expensive.
Meal Buddy more cost-effective arm very similar to obi.
iEAT robot takes a slightly different approach than the other two. Instead of using a 6 DOF arm it uses a 3 DOF arm.
Concept Design 1 is making use of a 6 degree of freedom robot arm. The arm is programmable with an Arduino to move to designated positions denoted by a coloring system and then brought up to mouth height. We can convert the power supply to rechargeable battery power and increase the portability of the device. The colored cups will be easily removeable and cleanable.
Concept Design 2 can be an addition to every concept presented. The idea is using a pusher to center food on a spoon connected to a column containing a screw gear. The spoon can then be elevated to mouth level and easily reached by leaning. This can be purely mechanical with a handle and lever, or can be fixed with power.
Concept 3 is a standing base with a plate able to fit under. It has 2 motors, one operating the shaft moving in the vertical direction and the other controlling the angle of the shaft. A fork attached to the main shaft is lowered to the plate and retracted. Then the bevel gear is engaged 90 degrees and the shaft is extended again to be accessible to the mouth.
We selected the food elevator as our final design for this project. This project serves our purpose well while being easier to design and manufacture than the other two. The design is also friendlier to Brandon and will be easier for him to use as opposed to the standing base, as well as being much easier to design and less prone to error than the 6-DOF robotic arm.
This design consists of a food plate to place food on with an elevator on one side of the plate with a utensil attachment to, in theory, collect the food and raise it up to Brandon for consumption. For this setup, the system will be set in front of Brandon, with the elevator directly in front of Brandon. The food will be raised up from the plate and raised to a comfortable level for Brandon to reach forward and eat from. Aspects of the system, such as the food plate and utensils, will be detachable in order to be cleaned after each use.
The food plate consists of a food-safe plastic cast. One dish at a time from the meal is placed on the food plate. On top of the food plate, a pusher that Brandon can control is used to move the food to a central spot where the utensil will catch the food. The utensil is attached to an elevator and can be modeled as a cantilever beam to do loading analysis. The elevator consists of a 12-in. lead screw able to raise the utensil to a level that Brandon is comfortable with and be lowered back down to the food plate.