During the Fall 2014 semester I began research on the mechanical design of a low-cost, myoelectric, anthropomorphic, prosthetic hand called Tact. The Tact can be 3D printed and built using off-the-shelf components in half the time of leading open-source hands, has performance matching or exceeding state-of-the-art at a 1000 times price difference, and can be assembled using one hand and a vice. Through grasping tasks we validated the functional use of the Tact in handling household objects. We combined the Tact with a low-cost myoelectric system to produce a complete prostheses capable of selection of 5 grips using EMG for less than $250. This work culminated in first authorship of a paper submitted to the 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Through this project I went through every step in the research process from idea conception and literature search to publication submission. I furthered my mechanical design (CAD) skills, became comfortable in finding prior work and using LaTeX, and proved my self-motivation in driving a project forward. All files and build instructions for the Tact hand are available.
Currently we are working with our collaborators in the Range of Motion Project, a non-profit prosthetics organization in Ecuador, to establish long term clinical testing of the Tact on actual patients. This hand is also being used as the testing platform for our sensory substitution research.