April 17, 2017

Ryerson Biomed Students Make Prosthetic Hand for a Farmer

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From left, students Aziz Alqahtani, Jennifer Eshoua, and Danielle Ribeiro, developed the prosthesis. Photograph courtesy of Tetra Ryerson.

Students in the Biomedical Engineering program at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, have created a 3D-printed prosthetic hand for a patient at St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, who wants to continue farming after a transradial amputation. The prototype developed by the Inspire Motion team weighs one kilogram, has five articulating fingers, and is said to be durable and easy to use. The design costs less than $20 to fabricate, includes flexible and rigid 3D-printed plastics, and LED lights that are wired to the fingertips, and fastens below the elbow and near the wrist.

The team came up with the idea to attach LEDs to the fingertips and capture the arm’s position with a specialized camera that detects heat to let the user control a mimic of his hand in a virtual environment for practice, Jennifer Eshoua, a member of Inspire Motion, told The Eyeopener, Ryerson University’s student newspaper.

The students prepared the arm for control with a circuit to measure muscle contractions using the electrodes. “When [the patient] contracts his bicep, his hand will close, and when he relaxes, it will open,” Eshoua said.

The electrodes and related circuitry are still separate in the prototype, but the team is getting additional help to merge the systems.

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