Title

The “Melting” Spoon

Format

SOECS Senior Project Demonstration

Abstract/Artist Statement

People with Parkinson’s disease experience difficulties eating. Occasionally, they will suddenly stop eating and are unable to start again (freezing and akinesia), until they are gently reminded to start eating again, by using some sort of signal or stimulus. Freezing cannot be predicted, so a tool is needed to help combat freezing when eating.We have observed a patient at ARC San Joaquin who freezes up often and continually over the course of a meal and must be told every few seconds by a caretaker to continue to eat. Through our study of the patient, our proposed solution is an attachment for the handle of any standard fork or spoon that will detect a lack of motion and set off a stimulus, in this case a vibration. The vibration is to let the user know that they must start eating again. This removable attachment will contain an electric motor, accelerometer, on/off switch, micro controller and a battery. The microcontroller will monitor the output from the accelerometer and create the appropriate outputs to the electric motor.The current model shows to be very promising. Preliminary results show that the accelerometer is able to detect a lack of motion occurring for more than two seconds. Upon this detection, the microcontroller will run the vibrator in intervals of 5 seconds. The vibration will stop once motion is detected again. This model is not aesthetically ready for the public, but work is being done to get everything into a presentable product.

Location

School of Engineering & Computer Science

Start Date

1-5-2010 2:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2010 3:30 PM

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May 1st, 2:00 PM May 1st, 3:30 PM

The “Melting” Spoon

School of Engineering & Computer Science

People with Parkinson’s disease experience difficulties eating. Occasionally, they will suddenly stop eating and are unable to start again (freezing and akinesia), until they are gently reminded to start eating again, by using some sort of signal or stimulus. Freezing cannot be predicted, so a tool is needed to help combat freezing when eating.We have observed a patient at ARC San Joaquin who freezes up often and continually over the course of a meal and must be told every few seconds by a caretaker to continue to eat. Through our study of the patient, our proposed solution is an attachment for the handle of any standard fork or spoon that will detect a lack of motion and set off a stimulus, in this case a vibration. The vibration is to let the user know that they must start eating again. This removable attachment will contain an electric motor, accelerometer, on/off switch, micro controller and a battery. The microcontroller will monitor the output from the accelerometer and create the appropriate outputs to the electric motor.The current model shows to be very promising. Preliminary results show that the accelerometer is able to detect a lack of motion occurring for more than two seconds. Upon this detection, the microcontroller will run the vibrator in intervals of 5 seconds. The vibration will stop once motion is detected again. This model is not aesthetically ready for the public, but work is being done to get everything into a presentable product.