A young Maker by the name of Shiva Nathan has designed a robotic (prosthetic) hand powered by an Atmel-based Arduino. At this stage, rudimentary control over the device is exercised by the user via an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset. As Samantha Allen of the Lowell Sun reports, Nathan wants to modify the controls so his arm can do even more, including moving its wrist, wiggling fingers and bending at the elbow.
In the meantime, Nathan plans on developing his “Arduino prosthetic” as an open-source project, with schematic designs anyone can download, mod and customize.
“I’m definitely looking to do this … especially because these prosthetics can retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, which basically renders them all but out of reach of many residents in Third World countries and even war veterans who just returned home and are working for minimum wage,” he told the Lowell Sun. “In the U.S. alone, there are 185,000 amputations performed each year so the necessity of this device becomes huge when you think about the implications.”
Unsurprisingly, Nathan’s project won first place in the 2013 National microMedics contest this past January, in the education category. However, because Shiva is under 18, he couldn’t receive a cash prize, so contest organizers rewarded him with $5,000 worth of electronics equipment instead.
As noted above, Shiva says he has high hopes for his prosthetic arm for the future and plans to keep fine-tuning it. He also emphasizes that his father has been instrumental in helping him develop the piece, which he built (in part) at the Nova Write machine shop under his father’s careful watch.
Shiva says he is one of the “lucky” citizens in Westford (Mass.) with access to great equipment and hopes his newly stocked workshop can help others.
“I’m trying to improve their quality of life, to help them unleash their creativity, by giving them all the resources they need free of charge. I was lucky enough to have people who care about me supply me with these resources,” he adds.