MAR 11, 2019 8:28 PM PDT

Autonomous Feeding System

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a census data in 2010, roughly a million adults in the US need someone to assist them in eating. However, such assistance can be awkward and an uncomfortable task. Now, researchers at the University of Washington are developing a robotic system that can make it easier for these individuals.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a robotic system that can feed people who need someone to help them eat. Here, a volunteer demonstrates how the system works.

Credit: Eric Johnson/University of Washington

"Being dependent on a caregiver to feed every bite every day takes away a person's sense of independence," said corresponding author Siddhartha Srinivasa, the Boeing Endowed Professor in the UW's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. "Our goal with this project is to give people a bit more control over their lives."

The study was published in a series of paper in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters and describes a robot that can strategically use a fork to pick up and deliver the desired portion of food to a person's mouth.

The study originated from the need to develop an autonomous feeding system that can be placed on wheelchairs and feed people whatever they wanted to eat at any time. "When we started the project we realized: There are so many ways that people can eat a piece of food depending on its size, shape or consistency. How do we start?" said co-author Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, a postdoctoral research associate in the Allen School. "So we set up an experiment to see how humans eat common foods like grapes and carrots. People seemed to use different strategies not just based on the size and shape of the food but also how hard or soft it is. But do we actually need to do that? We decided to do an experiment with the robot where we had it skewer food until the fork reached a certain depth inside, regardless of the type of food."

Learn more:

Source: University of Washington

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUN 12, 2020
Technology
How A Computer Sea Slug Can Get Addicted To A Drug
JUN 12, 2020
How A Computer Sea Slug Can Get Addicted To A Drug
Sea slugs have long been used to study brain models especially in research concerned with memory and learning. Now, rese ...
JUN 11, 2020
Technology
Artificial Brains Need Sleep Too
JUN 11, 2020
Artificial Brains Need Sleep Too
Can your android someday dream of electric sheep? Maybe not. But what may happen is that these artificial brains can ben ...
JUN 21, 2020
Technology
Can Artificial Intelligence Guess Your Age?
JUN 21, 2020
Can Artificial Intelligence Guess Your Age?
Some of us are able to hide our age from each other but what if you can’t hide your age from artificial intelligen ...
JUL 09, 2020
Technology
How Chatbots Can Help the Medical Community
JUL 09, 2020
How Chatbots Can Help the Medical Community
It is no secret that COVID-19 pandemic has touched our lives in so many ways. For health care providers, the burden has ...
AUG 16, 2020
Technology
An Online Calculator Can Predict Your Stroke Risk
AUG 16, 2020
An Online Calculator Can Predict Your Stroke Risk
Clinicians can make an educated prediction on a patient's risk to a stroke based on the severity of their metabolic ...
SEP 14, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Cell Line Authentication Using STR Analysis
SEP 14, 2020
Cell Line Authentication Using STR Analysis
Imagine you’re studying colon cancer using a colon cell line model. After three painstaking years of research, you ...
Loading Comments...