Bloomfield Hills Father, Son Create Robotic Dining Device

A Bloomfield Hills father and his engineer son have developed a robotic dining device, called Obi, that makes dining a more dignified occasion for people who have Lou Gehrig’s Disease and other physical challenges that require them to rely on others to feed them.

Jon Dekar and his father, Tom Dekar, spent six years developing Obi, for their company, DES?N (pronounced “design”). Tom Dekar is a retired executive with Deloitte, one of the nation’s big four public accounting firms, and a Bloomfield Hills community leader. As a University of Dayton engineering student in 2006, Jon Dekar developed the first prototype for Obi after seeing the eating challenges of people with disabilities as varied as his aging grandfather and a 6-year-old girl with Arthrogryposis.

“We believe dining is one of life’s greatest pleasures that absolutely everyone should enjoy,” Jon Dekar said in a news release. “What our device stands for is equally as important as what it does. It represents our belief that living with physical challenges can be fulfilling and inspiring. Technology, and specifically robotics, combined with modern design, should facilitate that.

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