It can be traumatic enough when someone needs a prosthetic device, but it can be doubly so when that person is faced with the price tag. And then the expensive prosthetic may not even give the person enough functionality to make it worth it. “The current price of prosthetics goes in the thousands, and they are all semi-functional,” said Aleksandar Bogdanovic, a graduating senior in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Bogdanovic and his partners Kris Schneider and Michael Nopp created a prototype of an inexpensive, wirelessly controlled prosthetic hand that promises to change that scenario. “We wanted to build a prototype for less than $300,” he said. “It was an ambitious project, but we had a strong team and we managed to do it.”
The prototype works by sensing the electrical signals passing through muscles when they are flexed or relaxed, a technology called electromyography. The fingers of the hand can each be in different positions at one time and the hand has enough force to hold a full can of soda. The team is happy with the result, and also sees the potential for making the product better in the future.