Using a combination of motors and 3D printed parts, he was able to create a robotic, voice-operated arm for a cost of about $260. Many high-end prosthetic arms can cost upwards of $35,000. Cheaper options are available, but with lower cost comes lower quality. Some have little function other than opening and closing the hand. Using a combination of voice control and electromyography, Mehta’s prosthetic hand can grasp, pinch, point, and perform other precise tasks the way a real hand would. It also comes a step closer to simulating the way a natural limb is controlled. Rather than the brain sending a command to the arm to move, the user speaks a command into a small microphone attached to the arm.
“You can say ‘spoon’ and the hand will make a shape that will be able to hold a spoon,” Mehta said.
Another factor the 17-year-old considered was upgradability. Children with prosthetics face a challenge that adult amputees do not. Prosthetics can be outgrown just as clothing can, and, as Mehta pointed out, many children need to change their prosthetics every six to eight months. By using inexpensive 3D printed parts, the robotic arm can be resized for a minimal cost.
In February of this year, Mehta entered his robotic arm into the Irvine Public School District science fair, where he won first place. He then went on to win four first-place awards in the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, and was subsequently chosen to enter the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May. There, his project took third place in the biomedical and health sciences category. He also took a third place award in the California State Science Fair; you can see his project abstract here.Now that the prototype has shown so much potential, Mehta plans to develop his robotic arm further and enter more science fairs. Ultimately, he hopes that his invention can one day enter the prosthetic marketplace and further simplify the lives of amputees.
“I’m done with the software,” Mehta told the Daily Pilot. “What I’m trying to do now is work on usability and design. Hopefully someday it can be tested with an amputee and I can work on that process from there.”
As of right now, Mehta’s design has met his initial criteria but is not yet fully functional in an ideal shape. The materials used included, he noted, “the Arduino board, servo motors, the 3d printer, sEMG electrodes, bluetooth module, two prong microphone and the rest were mainly used to assemble the hand.”
In the design phase, Mehta received help from University of California Davis orthopedic professor Gavin Periera, who, he said, “helped me with information on amputation procedures, current prosthetic, etc” as well as from “the staff at the Long Beach public library allowed me to use their 3D printers.”
He has certainly made a promising start. Through the initiative and intelligence of Mehta and other young people like him, the lives of amputees can only improve. Let us know your thoughts on his design in the High School Student Designs 3D Printed Prosthetic forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
3D Printing News Unpeeled: HI-RAM, Golf Shoes and Style2Fab
At Clemson University Shunyu Liu and her students are developing HI-RAM builds which is a metal 3D printing technology combined with synchronous hot rolling for increased part strength. The MC87...
Engineer’s 3D Printed Stop-Motion Videos Capture Internet Audiences
Microelectronic engineer Yuksel Temiz has found a unique application for his 3D printer: stop-motion animation. Utilizing multiple prints of figures in various poses, hundreds of photographs, and custom designed props,...
3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: September 10, 2023
This might possibly be the longest webinar and event roundup we’ve ever done at 3DPrint.com—that’s how many offerings there are this week! I won’t waste your time in this introduction...
3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: September 3, 2023
In the 3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup this week, 3D Systems continues its roadshow, ASTM International starts a professional certificate course, GE Additive holds a webinar about how binder...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.