“Are you drinking enough water?”
The question is so ubiquitous that it’s become meme canon in recent years. But what may be an annoying reminder to one person is often a logistical challenge for people dealing with mobility issues like cerebral palsy (CP). After learning about the potential physical hurdles involved in staying hydrated, two undergraduate engineering students at Rice University set out to design a robotic tool to help disabled users easily access their drinks as needed. The result, appropriately dubbed “RoboCup,” is not only a simple, relatively easy-to-construct device—it’s one whose plans are already available to anyone online for free.
According to a recent university profile, Thomas Kutcher and Rafe Neathery began work on their invention after being approached by Gary Lynn, a local Houstonian living with CP who oversees a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness for the condition. According to Kutcher, a bioengineering major, their RoboCup will hopefully remove the need for additional caregiver aid and thus “grant users greater freedom.”