It’s been a tumultuous first two weeks in the independent science research course. The entire project was still up in the air until recently, so it’s great to officially begin working on it. The team that created a prosthetic hand last year is still mostly together with the exception of the people who graduated, and as we work this year we hope to push past the difficulties (and time constraints) we ran into last year. I should define what research I’m doing before continuing, so here it is: I want to design an affordable, 3d printed, prosthetic hand for a child born with a wrist but not fingers. This multi faceted project begins with research into prosthetics in general, and will transition into developing new models based on my research that are more energy efficient, comfortable, and easy to reproduce.
Research so far has led me to a plethora of articles on current developments in prosthetic designs. Many researchers are doing things very similar to what we plan on experimenting with. I am especially excited to learn about the process of evaluating the new designs of prosthetics. This in depth process is something we had not thought to do last year, but now reading about the current research it seems like it would be foolish not to create similar parameters for our experiments. For example, in some of the articles I read, not only was grip strength tested, but also the forces exerted by the wrist or elbow needed to create movement in the prosthetic. I’m also looking into the functions of the tendons and joints in human hands to better understand what the prosthetics are emulating, and hopefully find inspiration for some new designs to test.
The model that started it all
For the next few weeks I’ll be continuing research and beginning to write a paper on prosthetic hands, how they’ve evolved over the years, and how they are advancing.