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Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot

Engineer Mat McKeown, facing a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a neurodegenerative disease, built himself a robot to help him feed himself.


(Matt McKeown with friends)

McKeown created a feeding robot that’s able to grip silverware and spoon food when prompted. Assistive feeding robots can retail between $4,500 and $6,000; McKeown made his for about $300.

The second model of McKeown’s feeding robot, built to be faster, stronger and better equipped to reach into corners and navigate curves of dinnerware, is in development.

I covered a similar device in 2006; see My Spoon Robot On Full Auto.

One of my fictional heroes was also a man with a neurological disease who overcame his handicap. In his 1942 story Waldo, Robert Heinlein describes a man with myasthenia gravis who invents a whole new form of engineering.

Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him; all three pairs, including the secondary pair before the machine, came to life. Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.
(Read more about waldoes)

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