This week my mom had the opportunity to try an Obi Robot. I’m sure you are wondering just what that is and why my mom would be trying a robot. Well, I am here to tell you that it is a really cool motorized feeding device. One that delivered the food right to my mom’s mouth with the touch of a button!
Obi is quite an ingenious invention and its abilities are very impressive! It was designed and made for people who have difficulty feeding themselves due to a lack of function with their upper extremities. Using Obi gives a person the ability to eat independently. With the touch of a switch, the user can direct the robotic arm to get food from one of four compartments. The arm then delivers the food to the person and waits for its next direction for getting more food.
To learn more visit: Meet Obi!
As I’ve mentioned before my mom has had some progression with her disability over the past year. This has included some increased weakness and loss of strength. Along with these changes comes a higher level of fatigue that sets in quickly when she tries to do most of her daily activities. Much to my mom’s surprise Obi helped lessen the fatigue she experiences while feeding herself.
My mom talks to me all of the time and often tells me stories. Do you like hearing stories? I love listening to my mom’s calm, gentle voice and hearing about things that she did before we became partners.
My mom tells me about her family and some of the things she did when she was a little girl. She talks about going to dog shows with some of her previous dogs which is fun for me to hear, And sometimes she tells me things about her disability and the different changes that have occurred over the years.
With trying Obi this week she has been reflecting back on the time when she first lost the ability to walk. When this happened she also lost the use of her right arm and hand. This was quite an adjustment because she was right-handed. Which hand do you use most often when doing things like writing and eating? This would be referred to as your dominant hand.
Some people are ambidextrous. Do you know what that means? It is when a person can use both hands equally well. My mom wasn’t ambidextrous so she had to learn how to do everything with her left hand. When my mom asks me to “shake” I sometimes give her my right paw and other times my left. Hey, maybe I am ambidextrous!
Since my mom’s dominant hand was her right one she did lots of practicing so she would get more comfortable and proficient with using her left hand. This was quite challenging at first but she persevered which means she kept trying even though it was difficult. And you know what? She soon was successfully using her left hand!
The two most difficult things she faced while adjusting to using her left hand was eating and brushing her teeth. To help with eating she started using silverware that had big handles. This gave her more to hold onto so it helped to make maneuvering the fork or spoon easier. For brushing her teeth she used an electric toothbrush.
This is the silverware that my mom uses when she eats.
My mom said for her she had to really concentrate and work hard on moving her hand in the right direction to get the food onto the fork and then to her mouth. Everything felt backward in the beginning. But with practice, it soon felt normal to use her left hand. She became a ‘leftie’ just like my dad and my brother Eric!
Do you want to try a couple of things to see what it would be like to adjust to big changes like using your non-dominant hand? When you sit down to eat your next meal try holding your spoon or fork in the hand you don’t usually use. And try doing the same when you brush your teeth.
If you want to do a few more things you could try writing your name, brushing your hair, drawing a picture, or cutting with scissors. Be creative and have fun! My mom even learned how to tie her shoes while using just her left hand!
My mom told me that she didn’t really think that I should do this blog post about the Obi Robot. But I thought it would be just fine. No, it isn’t about me but it is something that would help increase the independence of a person with a disability.
As you know I love teaching and helping people learn more about my mom and others who live with disabilities. So why wouldn’t I want to share info about an awesome discovery that could increase the independence of a person in need of this technology!
My mom was very grateful for the opportunity to try Obi for a few days. She found it relaxing and enjoyable to eat without exerting extra energy to get the food to her mouth.
My mom made a video for you to see how Obi works. And to make it even more fun my sister. Roo, and I make a brief appearance! My mom shows you how the arm moves to each of the four compartments and the way it delivers the food to her mouth. When Obi is first powered on the arm stops and bows to you as it is moving into position. This made my mom smile every time!