Assistive Dining Device
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The Assistive Dining Device is a powered feeder designed to enable individuals with upper extremity disabilities to feed themselves without using their arms or hands. This powered feeder has rotating bowls, a mechanical spoon, and a positioning arm. The bowls containing the food rotate until the desired food is located under the spoon. The spoon then dips into the bowl, scoops up the food, and presents a rounded spoonful of food very near the lips of the user. The user must lean forward slightly to take the food from the spoon. Each food selection is contained within a single bowl so that different foods do not become mixed. The depth and shape of the bowls and bowl covers determine the placement of food on the spoon. The inner shape of the bowl matches the path of the spoon as it rotates through the bowl providing maximum efficiency in picking up the food. The top of the spoon is then wiped by the edge of the bowl cover to control the amount of food on the spoon. Three different bowl covers (low, medium and high) with different wipe edges are available for accommodating different foods and user's preferences in the amount of food placed on the spoon. As the spoon extends near the user's mouth, the bottom of the spoon is wiped by the top edge of the bowl, thus minimizing dripping from the spoon. This powered feeder can hold up to three bowls of food at one time, each of which holds one cup (0.24 liter). Foods that can be served with this feeder include peas, mashed potatoes, breakfast cereal, pudding, fruit cocktail, and coleslaw. Larger foods like meats, sandwiches, pizza, cookies, and salads require cutting into bite size portions so that the spoon can get under and lift them from the bowl. Liquids can be served but may drip. The bowl, bowl covers, and spoons accommodate hot or cold foods and are dishwasher and microwave oven safe. The bowls and their covers are transparent to permit the user to see what food selections are being offered. The whole device is positioned so as not to block the user's view of the surrounding area, permitting users to function in the normal mealtime social setting. The feeder can be set to operate with numerous combinations of rotational speed, length of time the device pauses to allow the user to take food from the spoon, minimum and maximum dwell times times for the switches, and time settings for spoon retraction after user contact. All of these settings can be adjusted using a control panel located on the feeder. Three general modes of operation are available: fully automatic, using one adaptive switch, and using two adaptive switches. In the single switch mode, depressing the switch stops the rotation of the bowls and starts the spoon serving the food. After the user stops taking food from the spoon or the switch is depressed again, the spoon retracts and the bowl resumes the food selection pattern. This mode of operation requires a minimal physical effort for the user, while providing faster access to the food of choice than gained through the automatic mode. In the two-switch mode, one switch controls food selection, while a second switch controls the spoon movement. This powered feeder has a support arm that can position the bowls within an eighteen inch diameter, vertically or horizontally. This range of positioning permits the feeder to be located appropriately to meet the needs of a wide variety of users. When it is attached to a level table, the support arm always keeps the feeder level. The feeder can also be used while it is mounted on a table. The feeder is easy to clean, and all surfaces can be wiped with a damp cloth. The feeder comes with six bowls, three spoons, and nine bowl covers (three low, three medium and three high). POWER: Uses a rechargeable battery. This device will serve three full meals and three snacks before requiring recharging overnight, with a maximum recharge time of 4.5 hours. Partial recharge allows a quick start. OPTIONS: Additional bowls, bowl covers, and spoons; mounting clamps for wheelchairs or other platforms; and legs for table use. DIMENSIONS: The standard table clamp opens up to 3 inches to accommodate a large table or mounting surface; the optional Quick-Acting Clamp can be adjusted to any surface from 0.5 to 2.5 inches. WEIGHT: Including support arm, less than 15 pounds.