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ALS Worldwide
November 28, 2016

Obi: The Dining Robot Helping People With ALS

David Hare had led an active lifestyle. Then, in February 2011, he was diagnosed with ALS, a neurological disease that leads to rapid progressive degeneration of nerve cells and the loss of the ability to control voluntary muscle movement. The 56-year-old Michigan resident says “I tell people ALS stands for "Always Losing Something. Obi has given me something back.”


Obi™ is a new and revolutionary assistive dining device that is designed to empower those afflicted with differing abilities, such as ALS, giving people back the dignity and independence of feeding themselves, while enabling a caregiver to eat at the same time.

It includes a placemat with a dinner-plate-sized dish with four compartments on top, which mount onto a white platform. Attached to one side of the sleek, white platform is a robotic arm fitted with a spoon. Once placed on a table in front of the recipient, a caregiver can grasp the arm and teach Obi the delivery location. After that, the robot is able to replicate the process.

Collision detection prevents Obi from charging straight onto that position if a wayward eye or hand happens to cross its path. When the patient has finished his or her meal, Obi's plates and spoons, which are BPA-free, can be thrown in the dishwasher, microwave or freezer. Supplied by a rechargeable battery, Obi holds enough energy to serve four to six meals on a single charge. Obi operates quietly and can be carried with ease like a laptop computer.

“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. I can’t describe how much more fun meals are now, both for me and my wife, who has long helped me eat. It was just wonderful that I could find something that would lessen the load on her. It changed the direction of my life.”

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.”

The name “Obi” is derived from the word “obeisance” which is a term for a gesture of respect or deference, such as a bow or curtsy. In recognition of this, the Obi device fluidly “bows” to its user when turned on.

Please visit to learn more about Obi and how you can buy, rent, or lease one.