Posts Tagged 'Prosthetics'

Exoskeletal Legs

Students At UC Berkeley Build Exoskeletal Legs That Allow Paraplegic To Walk.

Popular Science (8/31, Vlahos) reports that student engineers at University Of California At Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory “built a machine that” allowed a paraplegic student “to stand up and walk across the commencement stage” in May. Until now, the exoskeletons developed in Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory “have been elaborately engineered test pieces.” For the current project, director Homayoon “Kazerooni challenged the students to invent the Honda of exoskeletons, a bare-bones device that would cost $15,000 or less, not $100,000 or more.” Popular Science reports, “With the goal of developing an exoskeleton that costs close to what a powered wheelchair does, the students were forced to adopt a minimalist approach.” Currently, they are “working on a new exoskeleton, one that is even more streamlined and affordable than the” model used in May.

Reposted from the 8/31/11 issue of First Bell.

Helping Hands

Technology Review (9/28, Grifantini) reports, “Researchers from Harvard and Yale Universities have developed a simple, soft robotic hand that can grab a range of objects delicately, and which automatically adjusts its fingers to get a good grip. The new hand could also potentially be useful as a prosthetic arm.” Unlike other soft robotic hands, this one “has just a few sensors and a single motor, but can pick up a variety of objects with the flexibility of a human hand.” The researchers noted that “people do not normally use a rigid grasp, but keep their fingers relaxed” when reaching for an object in order “to avoid knocking the object over.” Similarly, “making the robotic hand flexible allows it to pick up objects even with minor calculation errors” while “embedded sensors…allow the new hand to feel an object and adjust its grip.”


From ASEE First Bell, September 28, 2009.  All rights reserved.

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