Over the past month, our team has been hard at work preparing for our Mid-Grant Technical Review (which we have dubbed the Exo-Expo). On the technical side of things, several members of the team have been working to optimize the current design for our exoskeleton hand, which utilizes a system driven by linear actuators to create movement in the fingers. This model will be powered and controlled through an Arduino Uno that will sit alongside an LCD screen on the wrist of the patient, as seen in the CAD models attached. In regards to finance, our spending has slowed, mainly due to the amount of material we already have has been sufficient for the work we are currently doing. Once our prototype nears completion, we will look to begin purchasing sturdier materials for our final product. We are working on making connections with the local VAs and the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as physical and occupational therapists to find people suffering from paralysis or paresis of the hand. As of yet, we have not received a response from any organization but we will continue to pursue and explore other options (such as rehabilitation facilities).
Here is a video of the Arduino Uno, LCD screen, and linear actuators at work.
Here is a video of the part of the exoskeleton that will be on each finger. We are currently working to create a product that will mimic the movement of an actual human hand.
To have a hand to test our prototype on, we reached out to Steve Forscher from Simulaids, a company that makes mannequins for CPR manikins and other medical practice. They donated two synthetic hands each valued at $46 ($92 total), and we took a tour of their facilities. We will be filling the hands with a gel substance and plastic bones to simulate the movement of an actual human hand. We will be using this to demonstrate the abilities of our product.
We are looking to have our prototype completed within the next couple weeks, so as to be able to test it and make any necessary changes before our Mid-Grant Technical Review. Within that time, we are going to finalize the coding aspect of the project and finish the optimization of the structures attached to each finger. We will also be tackling the greatest technical challenge of our project; the thumb! We are looking forward to working with more experts in the fields of physical and occupational therapy and neuroscience, as well as the patients directly affected by these debilitating medical problems.