The project presented by young Peruvian Margarita Gonzales Espinoza, who designed a robotic arm for people with disabilities, could be defined as innovative and encouraging. It allows disabled people to feed themselves without the help of others.
"We want people with arm or hand disabilities to be independent in basic processes such as eating, avoiding the need for external help. It does in addition control food consumption through switches", said Gonzales, who is a graduate of Computer Systems Engineering at the Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN).
The project, involving a "Robotic arm for people with upper-limb disabilities" has a control system that, through the movement of the person's head, allows buttons to be pressed which are wirelessly connected to the robotic arm, thus ensuring that the food reaches the patient successfully.
The robotic arm has four joints, at the base, shoulder, elbow and wrist. It is controlled by an electronic architecture developed with recyclable materials (spoons, CD holders, plywood plates, among other things), which adapts to the patient and allows natural movement.
The research, prototyping, software development and performance tests that were conducted on a sample of 38 people took four months, but it paid off since, according to Gonzáles Espinoza, the arm works perfectly, something which has allowed the project to obtain the patent.
"We analyzed the prototype taking into account the immediate response from pressing buttons, checking if the food successfully reached the user with the robotic arm. We obtained 100% process efficiency in the tests. This year we obtained the utility model patent through Indecopi," he said.
Margarita Gonzáles said that the next step for the project is to present it to various companies with a view to working together on its manufacture and thus help different people with disabilities.
"Technological advances in the field of robotics allow us to create and develop solutions to reduce physical defects and achieve a greater degree of personal autonomy, making them a resource for assisting people with disabilities'', she said.
Sources: RPP/ Andina