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Soft Robotic Hand V3

Open Innovation Fall 2018 | Projects

  • Oliver Trejo's Brief


    The Soft Robotic Hand with Thumb is a prosthetic hand made of 3D-printed parts and silicone. The usage of soft robotics allows the hand and its digits to be compliant, which means that the hand can grab soft objects, without needing a complicated feedback loop. A pump system bends the fingers by using a specific inflation technique. The original design of the thumb did not cover all of the axes of rotation needed to make the thumb opposable and with a full range of motion. The new tri-chambered design uses three inflatable pouches to bend and extend the thumb, which makes it a rather complex device. Because this style of thumb has not been fully explored before, so it requires using pre-existing knowledge of the different actuators to better understand how the thumb functions.

    The thumb is an integral part of human evolution; without it, humans would not have been able to make and use tools, hold round objects, among other things, or throw things to hunt or defend themselves. The Soft Robotic Hand helps people in need of a prosthesis who work in an agricultural setting. Since the hand is soft, the user can pick up fruits and vegetables without harming them. It is also very versatile since it can be scaled up and recast, without having to reinvent the tolerances and design, so anyone can use it, no matter their size.