IIT students develop voice-controlled device to feed people without arms

Two students at IIT Gandhinagar have developed the device and also filed for a patent for it which according to them will cost Rs 2,000 to 3,000.

Published: 18th July 2019 08:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2019 02:32 PM   |  A+A-

IIT Gandhinagar students Praveen Venkatesh and Chris Francis

IIT Gandhinagar students Praveen Venkatesh (L) and Chris Francis pose for photographs with their dinning assistant device 'FoodBuddy' in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Their invention, as they claim, allows people without operable arms to feed themselves by giving command through Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: People without operable arms can now feed themselves by giving a voice command to a dining assistant, "FoodBuddy", which does everything from lowering the spoon down to the plate to lifting it to the mouth.

They can give voice command through Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa.

Two students at IIT Gandhinagar -- Chris Francis and Praveen Venkatesh -- have developed the device and also filed for a patent for it which according to them will cost Rs 2,000 to 3,000.

"People with non-operable arms require assistance in eating food along with several other tasks. Generally, a family member, friend or an employed caregiver feeds the person, but sometimes this leads to problems when the caretaker has to be away for a while or is not in a state to feed a person," Francis told PTI.

"There are a few alternatives available but either they are too expensive or they cannot adjust to the pace of the user," said Francis, who is studying Computer Science Engineering.

Venkatesh, who is an Electrical Engineering student, said, "The user gives a voice command through Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa, or presses a button to start feeding. The device lowers a spoon down to the plate, tilts it for easy scooping and rotates the plate so that the spoon scoops food." 

"Then it lifts the spoon to meet the user's mouth, enabling him or her to eat independently. Feeding can be paused and resumed, and the plate can be rotated independently by the user," he said.

"The most distinctive feature of our device is that it uses a significantly lesser number of parts compared to the existing products and hence it is cost-effective," he added.

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