As I continued my research, I realized that the useful articles I was coming across were all coming from the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, so instead of continuing to dig through articles on a general scientific search engine, I went to the JRRD’s website and began to look there. The two types of articles I found an abundance of were research on improving the control systems for myolectrically controlled prosthetics and on different materials or finger designs to improve grip.
The article I found on improving grip can be found here. Next week I plan on making a 3d model of a similar pad that could be 3d printed. Instead of rotating on joints, the flex would come from thinly printed plastic layers to allow for a more dynamic grip on certain surfaces. The fingertips of the current model are round and solid, so if we can find a way to incorporate this it might improve it’s functionality.
The other major step forward in my research is towards the myoelectrically controlled hand. Some of the research done on prosthetics is based on solving the issue of concentration. When humans use our hands we don’t have to think much about it, but with the myoelectric control system there can be issues with the attention required to use it. There have been feedback systems designed using vibration and pressure to signal when a prosthetic is grasping firmly and the research that has been done indicates this is the best available solution that improves function without requiring too much attention.
Moving on to next week I’ll begin to wrap up my annotated bibliography and start to work on some 3D modeling for different types of fingers and grips that we’ve decided to test.