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The goal of this project would be to create a 3D printable, human-sized robotic hand. The hand could be controlled by the movements of the user’s hand in a specialized glove. Alternatively it could be actuated by muscle sensors and used as a prosthetic for someone who has lost a hand. The goal is to create two unique input devices and one output device in the form of a mechanical hand. The glove-type input would mimic the actions and movements of the wearer of the glove in real time, and this could later be applied to a larger robotic assembly or as a computer interface. The muscle sensor input would allow someone to trigger the opening and closing of the hand using arm muscles alone, which has applications in the robotic prosthetics field, as well as other applications. This project is an extension of the Open Hand project, whose goal is to create inexpensive, open-source, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for people who have lost theirs.

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Prosthetic Robotic Hand

grant photo
School:
Lakewood High School 
Subject:
Stem 
Teacher:
Jason Ness 
Students Impacted:
180 
Grade:
9-12 
Date:
November 9, 2015

Investor

Thank you to the following investor for funding this grant.

 

Pinellas Education Foundation - Tag - $470.98

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Goal

The goal of this project would be to create a 3D printable, human-sized robotic hand. The hand could be controlled by the movements of the user’s hand in a specialized glove. Alternatively it could be actuated by muscle sensors and used as a prosthetic for someone who has lost a hand. The goal is to create two unique input devices and one output device in the form of a mechanical hand. The glove-type input would mimic the actions and movements of the wearer of the glove in real time, and this could later be applied to a larger robotic assembly or as a computer interface. The muscle sensor input would allow someone to trigger the opening and closing of the hand using arm muscles alone, which has applications in the robotic prosthetics field, as well as other applications. This project is an extension of the Open Hand project, whose goal is to create inexpensive, open-source, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for people who have lost theirs. 

 

What will be done with my students

This project will have 6 stages for this year, but many of the stages are open-ended, allowing students to expand and extend this concept for next year. Stage 1 will be to 3D print and assemble a prosthetic hand from existing Open Hand files. Then mount and connect the servos and microcontroller to create a complete and functioning actuator. Students may extend this by refining and redesigning the printed hand to make it better. Stage 2 will be to create an input glove using the flex sensors; this will be used to control the hand when not used as a prosthetic. Students may extend this by adapting the glove to work as an input device for other robotic assemblies, or even as a computer interface. Stage 3 will be to experiment with the muscle sensor to determine what reliable information can be used from them; these will be used as input devices when the hand is to be used as a prosthetic. Students may extend this just like the glove by applying the sensors as an input device for other robotic applications or biometric monitoring. Stage 4 will be to interface the glove and the hand and demonstrate their use. Stage 5 will be to interface the muscle sensors and the hand and demonstrate their use. Stage 6 will be to formalize a concrete list of applications for this technology for future classes to research and build on. Biometrics is becoming a power force in consumer electronics and these students will be working with cutting edge concepts and applying them in important ways. 

 

Benefits to my students

This project may start as a robotic hand, but the applications of this technology are numerous. This project could serve as an introduction to electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer programming, and many other fields of study. For example, completing this hand requires students to work with 3D modeling and printing, wiring, soldering, and programming. This type of technology is currently used in assembly lines, prosthetics, surgical operations, and for handling hazardous materials. This hand could eventually be controlled from a remote location, or even as a prosthetic limb controlled by brainwaves. Exposing students to this level of research work in high school will better prepare them for bigger and more complex projects in college and possibly graduate school. Becoming familiar with this type of work and all the tools and processes involved will give these students an opportunity most kids their age don’t have. This type of interactive technology also inspires younger students to take STEM classes in high school and beyond. 

 

Describe the Students

I have 180 students in the Applied Robotics Program, which includes four levels and seven classes of honors robotics. We are a part of the Center for Advanced Technologies, a STEM magnet school within Lakewood High School, a Title 1 school. 

 

Budget Narrative

The largest expense of this project are the sensors and servos. Small, powerful servos are required to actuate the fingers with enough force to be useful, but also to be small enough to fit in the palm of a 3D-printed hand. Muscle sensors are largely experimental at this level and there are three manufacturers available to us. We will trial each type for its cost and effectiveness. The flex sensors will be used in the wearable glove to detect the motion of the fingers of the wearer. Two small microcontrollers will be used to control the muscle sensors and the robotic hand respectively. The remainder of the grant will be spent on a small amount of hardware and material needed to build the robotic hand, including a spool of 3D printer filament. 

 

Items

# Item Cost
1 6 x Flex Sensor 4.5" $78.00
2 2 x Nano V4.0 Microcontroller $32.00
3 8 x HS-82MG Metal Gear Micro Servo $160.00
4 3D printer filament $30.00
5 Advancer Technologies Muscle Sensor V3 $49.99
6 MyoWare Muscle Sensor $37.99
7 Seeedstudio Grove EMG Detector $48.00
8 hardware $25.00
9 shipping $10.00
  Total: $470.98

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