Design of a Multiple-User Intelligent Feeding Robot for Elderly and Disabled People


  • Homeyra Pourmohammadali Dept. of Mechanical Eng. University of Waterloo
  • Jonathan Kofman Dept. of Systems Design Eng. University of Waterloo
  • Amir Khajepour Dept. of Mechanical Eng. University of Waterloo


Many feeding systems have been developed for disabled users; however, all have been designed for use with only a single user at a time. Little effort to design a multiple-user feeding system has been made. The aim of this research is to develop a machine to feed multiple elderly people dining all together at the same time on at four-seat tables. A robotic system has been designed based on senior’s characteristics and their feeding needs, determined through observations of seniors at a nursing home. In such institutions, the limited number of staff compared to number of dependent elderly makes managing to respond to their needs very challenging during the restricted time allocated for eating. Assignment of a single feeding device to four people may reduce the number and consequent costs of machines and caregivers. Since the eating procedure is not fast, the idle state of the robot during one user’s chewing and swallowing can be allocated for feeding another person sitting at the same table. The proposed system uses a 6-DOF serial articulated robot in the center of a four-seat table along with a specifically designed food tray to feed one to four people. It employs a vision system interface to perform recognition of food, forks, spoons and cups. The feeding system is simulated to evaluate the design before prototyping and real-time testing. 




How to Cite

H. Pourmohammadali, J. Kofman, and A. Khajepour, “Design of a Multiple-User Intelligent Feeding Robot for Elderly and Disabled People”, CMBES Proc., vol. 30, no. 1, Dec. 2007.