Posted by: robotnews | April 7, 2007

My Spoon

U036584N Wu Zhenyu

This is one of the latest inventions in assistive robotics – My Spoon, a meal assistance robot which helps people with disabilities to eat. This robot is developed to assist patient with spinal cord injury or other diseases which results in the inability to move his arms, to have a proper meal.

One of the main components of My Spoon is the Manipulator Arm. It is the part that performs all the action and feeds the user with food. One end of the Manipulator Arm is connected to the End-Effector, which can be connected with a spoon or fork. The other end of the Manipulator Arm is linked to the Base Unit, on top of which the Manipulator Arm is positioned. The Base Unit is also connected to a Operating Interface, which is used by the user to operate the robot. There are different choices for the Operation Interface. One is the joystick, for those who can operate it with fingers. For people who have problems operating with joystick, he can choose to operate it through buttons.


This robot may looks a little simple, but it won the Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) “Robot of the Year for 2006” contest. In fact it does make sense as being able to eat is the basic element of social independence. A person could enjoy a meal properly and happily with his family or friends without external help. This would be essential in helping the patient to regain confidence in life.

Reference:

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Responses

  1. I agree with you – there are many assistant systems for elderly, disabled or ill people which cannot be a substitute for a human being (e.g. taking care of somebody).
    But this one can, in fact, give back self-confidence to users – and will therefore be accepted by them.
    Acceptance is one of the most important aspects in assistive and also in home robotics. Especially as technology-loving engineers, we will always have to double-check if we are not trying to substitute human being in an aspect in which it cannot be substituted.

    Walther Schulze, NT061333Y


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