DESIN, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich, introduces its first product—the Obi assistive dining device.

The Obi is designed to help make dining easier for people with disabilities. A robotic arm selects a particular food from one of four compartments. It then delivers the food to a potential location where a diner can eat from the spoon.

A rechargeable battery holds enough energy to serve four to six meals on a single charge. The product also fits within a dinner placemat, operates quietly, and can be carried like a laptop computer, according to a media release from DESIN.

“Every day, millions of people must be fed by caregivers, and they find the experience to be conspicuous and frustrating. Feeding oneself is a basic human need, and there was no good solution available. I became inspired to change that,” says Jon Dekar, who developed the first Obi prototype in 2006 when he was an engineering student at the University of Dayton.

With his father, Tom, a retired vice chairman of Deloitte, they founded DESIN in 2010 and spent the next 6 years refining the Obi’s design, securing investors, sourcing suppliers, and testing prototypes.

“It’s just not an enjoyable experience to have someone feed you, either for the person who’s eating or the person doing the feeding,” states David Hare, a patient with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) who has been using the Obi for more than a year.

“I can’t describe how much more fun meals are now, both for me and my wife, who has long helped me eat. I know people are passionate about their cell phones and laptops, but it’s nothing compared to the excitement I feel about my Obi. Getting it was literally a life-changing experience,” Hare continues in the release.

[Source(s): DESIN, PR Newswire]