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Project : Redefined Spoon for Parkinson’s Patients

Posted on July 26th, 2015 by in Projects

Parkinson is a disease which affects the way you move. In a way, it is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. Efforts are constantly being made in order to cure Parkinson, but the disease seems to be incurable till date. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) has been working as one of the leading organizations for the research, education as well advocacy of Parkinson so far. We have with us, three students from IIT Gandhinagar – Eepsit Tiwari, Rajesh Patidar and Dhyey Shah, who have developed a very useful product – a “redefined” spoon for the Parkinson patients, in order to avoid their embarrassment, which happens due to the inability to stabilize their hand while eating.

Let’s know more about their work here !!

How did you get the idea/ What’s the concept of the project? Tell us something about the real life problem you are trying to solve.

There is a lot I can say here and go on and on…but all starts with a course called “Disruptive Design in Indian Healthcare” by Prof. Bhaskar Bhatt. We were supposed to build a product as the title suggest and first assignment we were given was to go in field. This means visiting Hospitals, Doctors, Foundations like Polio foundation etc. and list down problems you think you want to be solved. In this research we found that there are lot of potential products we engineers can build for patients of motion disorders. But we needed to be specific in order for us to build a product.

From neuro-physicians and care takers of Parkinson’s patients we came to know that such patients suffering from motion disorders are not able to eat comfortably and perform routine tasks independently. It is essential to have a balanced food intake to lead an energetic life and for fast recovery. Parkinson’s disease is also very common among the elderly who prefer liquid and semi-liquid food. Due to their inability to stabilize their hand while eating, patients commonly spill food and thus, depend on others to feed them. To avoid this embarrassment, patients tend to lose their appetite and avoid eating which leads to an inadequate diet further aggravating the disease. To lead an energetic life and for faster recovery, it is very important to have a balanced amount of food intake.

We later found out that according to various surveys, one in every 500 people suffers from the Parkinson’s disease (around the world).

Products available in market are either too costly (Liftware – a start-up acquired by Google – costs around $300) or demand a habit change from the users which make them feel odd while eating in a social gathering.

How is your concept unique ?

Our solution is a redefined spoon which is both cost effective and convenient to use, that allows patients to hold it without changing their normal eating position. Since, the spoon only contains small, mechanical components it requires very less maintenance and is very durable. Further it is very cost effective as it doesn’t use any electronic motor or stabilizers. Thus, it does not add to the already high expenditures of these patients.

From our research, the major problem with these patients is that they can’t exert a pointed force due to their inability in performing & controlling micro motions of their fingers. Our product prevents food spillage in a completely mechanical way via a lid-trigger mechanism which works in a way that the patient can achieve significant displacement by pressing the trigger very slightly.

The main challenge we faced is prototyping our idea.

Tools/Technologies/Platforms/Languages you have worked with

We have identified these problems through our research and their possible solutions using the methodology of interaction design. We also validated the product using Autodesk model and performed simulations for the functionalities of its various parts. After successful simulations, we 3D printed the prototype using the Rapid Prototyping machine of IIT Gandhinagar.

Do you have a working prototype of your project ?

Here are some of the photographs showing the prototype prepared by us.

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Any outstanding achievement/recognition you’ve received so far (in context of this project)

We were awarded Gandhian Young Technological innovation award at Rashtrapati Bhavan for this project.

What’s your vision for this project or you think could be the future ?

The Parkinson’s disease is a lifelong ailment. It becomes excruciating for patients to be unable to perform simple routine tasks. Through this product we hope to make the lives of patients suffering from motion disorders easier and help them live independently, hence, improving their self-esteem. Currently, we are in process to file a patent for this product on top of which we think a sustainable business can be created which can serve so many patients.

Contact details to reach out to you

Email : [email protected]

Phone no : +91-8866822740

We are very sure that this project work would have inspired or motivated many of you. We would be constantly unearthing the hidden talents all across the country. To read more of our interviews, visit our project blog series. You can also comment down below, anything that you have to say about the article above. If you want your project work to be covered by The College Store, contact us here. And of course, stay tuned for more ;)

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Best Wishes,
Team College Store

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