Attention Makers


3D-Printed Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis

MAKERS: Jess Christopher Lopez COUNTRY: Philippines

A 3D-printed robot hand that is controlled by forearm muscle contractions. This can be used as a framework for low-cost myoelectric prostheses that significantly improves an amputee's quality of life.


The Purpose

Commercial prosthetics typically cost around $20,000-$100,000. In addition, a prosthetic device will likely need to be replaced several times throughout a patient's lifetime. This would incur a significant cumulative cost in prosthetic ownership. And currently, there is a very limited alternative to the expensive commercial prosthetic devices. This project implements a low-cost prosthetic hand using 3D-printing technology and by utilizing open-source resources. A myoelectric robot hand that can be controlled by forearm muscle contractions was created with the ultimate goal of making a viable alternative prosthesis that can rival commercial counterparts in assisting patients in performing activities of daily living.

The Technology

This project uses 3D-Printing technology to manufacture the prosthetic hand. High-torque DC servo motors were used as actuators for the bidirectional tendon system. An Arduino Uno Rev3 with IO expansion shield was used to generate the PWM signals and control servo angle of rotation. The Thalmic Labs Myo, an armband with electromyography (EMG) sensor and embedded ARM processor for pattern recognition, was used to distinguish which muscles in the forearm are innervated by the user. The classified EMG signals then serve as input stimulus that triggers a transition in the grasp/posture enacted by the 3D-printed robot hand.

Additional Details

This project goes beyond just making a cosmetic prosthetic hand. A myoelectric human-machine interface was implemented, i.e. the prosthesis is controlled by forearm muscle contractions. The functional prosthesis acts as a finite-state machine and the user can change the machine state (prosthetic hand finger positions) by intuitively contracting muscles in the proximal forearm or the remnant muscles in the case of a partial arm amputee. The InMoov Hand and Forearm Design by Gael Langevin were adopted as the prototype prosthesis design. Open-source libraries were utilized to interface the different project modules.

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