Name of the Technology : Feeding device for paraplegics
Disability Sector : Cerebral Palsy
Function : Daily basic activities aids, Feeding aid
Category of research : New technology/product (not existing in the country)
Brief description of the product/ technology:
This device has been designed for people who need the assistance of others to feed them. The category of disability can be Cerebral palsy with loss of hand -mouth coordination, loss of both the hands due to accidents, war, muscle atrophy etc. and in general "paraplegics". The current design has been embodied to hook on to wheel chairs for wheel-chair bound users and can be easily adopted to ordinary chairs or dining tables, if needed. The food (especially curd rice, sambar rice, pieces of chappathi etc) is served in a special bowl attached to a tray and a motorized spoon-feeding mechanism carries the food to his/her mouth when the user presses a foot- switch. The user takes the spoonful of food into his/her mouth and commands a refill of the spoon by pressing the foot-switch again. The empty spoon goes down to the tray and bowl and gets an automatic refill through a special filling arrangement. The user operates the same switch again and the filled spoon reaches up to his mouth and stops, enabling the user to take the next mouthful at his own timing and the process repeated. The device has an embedded micro-controller, limit switches and two actuators. The user-interface is very minimal to the level of pressing a single switch. It is 12 volts DC operated and can be either battery operated or from the mains through an adapter for 12 volts.
The design has paid special attention for easy and quick removal, cleaning and fitting of the tray, bowl and spoon for repeated usage ensuring cleanliness and hygiene.
The "Feeder" that has been designed , tested and documented is essentially "CUSTOM-MADE" to suit the requirement of one user, who is Cerebral Palsied and wheel-chair bound. The "feeder" takes reference to the position of the mouth of the user with respect to frame on which the device is fixed on the wheel chair in a specific location. The same feeder can not be automatically taken by another person, who wants to sit in a chair in his house and use it. Though the mechanisms can be adopted in principle, the usage-fitment needs to be tailored to suit the furniture, the seating- posture and body dimensions of the user. One way of overcoming this can be to incorporate this device as a part of one particular type of chair so that adjustments to suit mouth location of a person becomes very easy to incorporate.
Readiness level of the product/technology: Alpha level validated through user feedback
Anticipated time to reach the next readiness level: 6 to 9 months
Anticipated time for the technology/product to come in the market: 12 to 18 months
Any Hindrance(s) being faced w.r.t. the development of product/technology: No hindrance(s)
Anticipated cost: Rs.20,000/-
J.E.DIWAKAR(Chief Research Scientist) CENTRE FOR PRODUCT DESIGN AND MENUFACTURING
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE