Assistive Robotic Arm

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Engineering


Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Noah Salzman


The problem our team is addressing is the lack of efficient, independent feeding and service that people with disabilities face daily. After researching this area, it has come to our attention that there is a high demand from people with disabilities to be more self sufficient, we see our project as a potential solution for this. To better understand the problem we were trying to solve, we researched existing solutions. We were only able to identify two commercially available products, both were expensive and extremely limited in their capabilities. After research and evaluation, we decided to use a robotic arm as our assistive device. As a team, we gathered information on how existing products function, the requirements that our clients need for a device, and first-hand knowledge from a caregiver on how to be successful with our product. We conducted other research into robotic arms that could be programmed to do certain functions by the user for the user. The biggest obstacle that we will face as a team is the amount of time that we have to work on this project. We have a single semester to both understand how to use the arm and get the arm to function in a beneficial way. In addressing the challenge our team conducted research in specific areas to determine where our energy would be most needed. The team decided to focus on the physical robotic arm itself as well as determining that the early prototype must be able receive commands from an external device such as a smartphone and be capable of retrieving an article of food and positioning it near the operators face. Upon receiving our arm we programed it to complete a few basic actions. We focused on the most important actions that a person with a disability would use this arm for. We also formed a basic program that can be interacted with via smartphone to perform these functions.

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