Childhood of a robot

This is the post excerpt.

This is as a hobby project. As a Remap volunteer I make gadgets, usually quite simple, to help people of disability remain independent. As an engineer with IBM, I invented and developed often complex mechanisms for hard disk and printer products. When I learned that the government were promoting innovative devices to enable frail elderly people to remain living independently at home, I decided to do what I could to develop a gadget, a simple sort of robot perhaps, that could help. Malnutrition is a big problem among the elderly and it appeared to me that a device to move plates between a fridge and a microwave, and to spoon feed a person are within the range of a skilled and experienced hobby engineer. I had noticed that elderly people often buy frozen ready-meals and enjoy eating them. That would simplify what the robot needed to do but involved re-orienting the meal after it is spun in the microwave, and removing the foil cover while hot. I decided to focus on meals produced by Apetito who market vast numbers of meals each month internationally, and in Britain through “Meals on wheels” and “Wiltshire farm foods” outlets.

As the robot, now called Nellie, learned the necessary skills, I contacted organizations that might help me, but they were not interested, perhaps because they did not believe a robot could do what Nellie could now do.  When I learned that Remap had a stand at Naidex this year, I asked if she could be shown there,  to see if anyone in the care industry thought that she might be useful. So here she is showing some of her skill on video. Just a prototype, not a product. Could she be useful? What do you think? Let me know at:  john.s.heath@ntlworld.com.

 

 

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