In the second half of the year, the
STEM class transitions away from the indpendent research projects and to group assistive technology
projects. In STEM II, we follow an iterative design process to develop a device or technology that
can support someone's needs.
Scopey: An Affordable Robotic
Feeding Device For Those With Upper Body Mobility Restrictions
In this project, I worked with seven other people in the "supergroup". These individuals
include: Jennifer Shaughnessy, Vaishnavi Harish, Giang Pham, Amy Chen, Marlon Jost, Mckenna Childs, and
Kweku Akese. I was responsible for much of the software and electrical wiring in this project.
The ability to eat is essential to human survival, and yet never thought of beyond the
content of the meal. However, medical conditions such as Merosin-Deficient Muscular Dystrophy causes
muscle weakness and contractions that make eating a
difficult task. While many support networks exist to assist these patients, these individuals deserve
the opportunity and freedom of feeding themselves
with ease and independence. To do this, many technologies have been invented such as the Obi and ASIBOT
feeding devices, but flaws with these designs make them undesirable or inaccessible. Existing feeding
devices range from adaptive utensils to automated robotic arms, and although these devices are able to
benefit thousands of users, high cost is the primary issue with the majority of options, greatly
reducing the impact of these pieces of technology. However, an inexpensive assistive feeding device with
full functionality has the potential to benefit thousands of people and allow them to regain their
independence during mealtimes without costing thousands of dollars.
This project aimed to extend and improve a previous year's project that tackled the same
issue. Our feeding device is designed to have several motors controlled by a Raspberry Pi, allowing it
to move in multiple directions, pick up food, and deliver it to the user. The device was designed to
minimize any potentially dangerous parts, energy usage, and excess noise. This was planned by using
stepper motors to modify the height of the mechanisms in the same manner as a 3D printer, as well as a
telescoping mechanism for simple control of distance to and away from the device.