Mechanical Drinking Cup for Disabled

About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

This innovation is a canister fitted with a straw that has the ability to pump liquid up into the mouth of the subject without the requirement of effort on the subject’s part. The intended use of this machine will be to transfer liquid into the mouths of those whose cheek and jaw muscles are too weak to assist them in drinking liquid on their own. Towards the bottom of the cup/canister, there is a motor-run pump with a small opening through which it will transfer liquid from inside the cup to inside the straw, where it will be pushed upward through the straw. To activate the motor, there will be an on/off switch on the cup. This technology will be used to assist those who cannot use their tongue or mouth muscles to suck up liquid on their own, such as those with cancer in the mouth whose cancer has eaten away at those muscles. This is the alternative to having a straw implanted in your throat, which can be painful and inconvenient. It also has the potential to be extremely beneficial to senior citizens, whose jaw and mouth muscles are no longer strong enough to drink on their own. Often, even if someone with weakened mouth muscles can still swallow liquid despite not being able to get it in their mouth, they will still have to get a straw implanted into their throats – and this alternative can prevent that.

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Step 1: Materials

General Material List:

  • 9V Motor Run Section Pump (with attachable silicone straws)
  • 9V Battery
  • Ledes (stripped)
  • Straw
  • Drill
  • Hot Glue
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Push-button switch (normally off)

Prototype Materials

  • Cup with handle

Step 2: How to Make the Prototype

Note: The prototype pictured was made using a plastic cup with no handle and a detached wooden handle that was eventually strapped around the cup using cable ties. Using a plastic couple with a handle will work just as well!

Step One:

Near the base of the plastic cup, opposite the handle, drill two holes next to each other just as far as apart from each other as the two openings in the suction pump.

Step Two:

Attach the two silicone straws from within the cup. Leave one inside the cup. Insert the other into your plastic straw. **If they don't fit within each other tight enough, a reducer may be necessary. Make sure water cannot escape through the gap.

Step Three:

Hot glue a battery pack to the plastic cup, above the suction pump (and still opposite the handle), and place the 9V battery within it.

Step Four:

Hot glue the push button switch to the top of the handle.

Step Five:

Create a serial connection between the battery, switch, and pump using positive and negative ledes. Secure the wires to each part by soldering them together.

Good luck!


Step 3: Supporting Documentation

Step One:

The entire cup is 3D printed. Refer to the attached .stl files for a guide on how they should be designed. Step one is designing it according to your desired liquid capacity.

Step Two:

Attach the top and bottom chambers using hot glue. Make sure to line up the handle so that it remains hollow throughout.

Step Three:

Drill two holes from the bottom chamber to the top, according to the width of and distance between the two openings of the suction pump.

Step Four:

In the bottom chamber, hot glue the battery pack and suction pump. Make sure the two openings line up with and go through the holes you've drilled. Space them out according to what is best for your design. Solder your red and black ledes as needed. Through the hollow tunnel in the handle, insert the ledes connecting the push button to the battery.

Step Five:

Solder the push button switch to the ledes you've snaked through the handle.

Step Six:

Hot glue the push button to the opening of the handle.

Step Seven:

Through the top chamber, attach the silicone straws. *Important!: Make sure the holes between the top and bottom chamber are properly sealed so as to prevent water damage to the electronics during testing.

Step Eight:

Attach the plastic straw to one of the silicone straws. If the fit is not secure enough to prevent liquid leaking out of the gap, then a reducer is needed.

Good Luck!


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