Age is not a barrier when it comes to making a positive impact on the world. As per The Guardian, Aarav Anil has demonstrated this by developing a smart spoon that aims to offer a certain level of convenience to individuals with Parkinson’s disease. He believes the spoon will enable patients to independently eat their meals without any assistance. The 17-year-old has partnered with an institute in India to enhance his design further. He hopes that his invention will soon meet all regulatory requirements and become widely available. His motivation behind this endeavor was his uncle, who is affected by the condition.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
According to the National Institute on Aging, “Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes unexpected or uncontrolled movements such as tremors, rigidity, and difficulties with balance and coordination.” Anil’s intelligent spoon is equipped with sensors that detect shocks on one side and initiate movement on the other side. This effectively counteracts the tremors experienced by the user and keeps the spoon steady. The prototype of the intelligent spoon has now been dispatched to RV College of Physiotherapy in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where it is undergoing testing to ensure compliance with all regulations.
Anil stated, “I am refining the design based on feedback from the college – making it waterproof so that it can be washed without damaging the internal electronics; making it detachable for ease of cleaning, and giving the option to switch to a fork; moreover, the spoon should have a deeper profile to accommodate more food.” The idea of creating such a spoon occurred to him when he observed his uncle Arjun struggling while eating. At the age of 70, his uncle experiences the impact of Parkinson’s disease in every aspect of his life. Anil noticed that his uncle was experiencing vigorous movements while eating with a spoon and frequently spilling food on himself.
Eventually, his uncle had to call for assistance from a servant to consume his meals. Anil could sense the disappointment in the eyes of the retired civil servant. In order to help himself and the many others who suffer from this predicament, he initiated work on the Smart Spoon. His uncle has also been actively involved in the project, providing suggestions on how to improve the design. After trying the spoon for the first time, he recommended that Anil modify the handle as it was too slippery.
While several American companies manufacture such spoons, they are not accessible to the general population in India. The device costs $200 (£164), while Anil aims to reduce the price to $80. However, he is cautious not to compromise on quality or include any faulty components in this pursuit.
Consequently, their device is undergoing rigorous tests and proper verification processes at the college. They anticipate that their findings will be published in a medical journal soon. Once they receive proper authorization, Anil intends to produce the spoons in hospitals, where patients will be able to utilize them. Balancing his studies with his innovation can be challenging at times, but he remains committed to serving people afflicted by Parkinson’s disease.
What consistently motivates him to strive towards his goal are his uncle’s words, “Who would have thought that such a small object could make the difference between dignity and disgrace?” Their innovation has already garnered praise from the scientific community. It won first prize in the Future Innovators category at the World Robot Olympiad in Germany last year.