Dr. Crowthers

Course Description
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.
Problem Description

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.
Design Approach

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.
Prototype Images
Design Image for the Robotic Feeding Device STEM 2 Project
Real Life Image for the Robotic Feeding Device STEM 2 Project