P09029: Robotic Hand Improvement

Mission Statement

Table of Contents

Collecting Project Background Raw Data

Interactions with Sponsors

First Sponsor Interview
Interviewers: Casey Dill
Sponsor: Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard
September 24th, 2008 in Dr. Lamkin-Kennard's office
All answers are paraphrased, not quotes.

1)What work have you done with the robotic arm projects in the past?

The robotic arms have been proof of concept projects to see if pneumatic muscles could imitate a human hand. It could be eventual scaled down to do microsurgery. There are some things already in place, but the are not very dexterous. Using pincers is hard work. The project also has use in other places where similar remote work has to be done, like nuclear power plants. The first generation arm had 3 fingers and could do all the motions associated with that. Another project was done to get the hand to grip stuff. A project is on going to getting the dexterity of the thumb and pinkie working. The next generation needs to get the wrist motions right, and be able to demonstrate tool using as per Dresser-Rands' purposes.

2)What were some of the obstacles the teams had to overcome?

Controls were a big issue. Sensing the finger's location and displacement. It still is giving teams trouble. Also, Air muscles are non-linear. this adds to the complication of the controls. Groups that had CEs or EEs to work on the controls were better off.

3)What did you want from these projects? What do you hope to achieve with this project?

Past projects have been proof of concept projects. They made for good senior design projects that were fun and cool. Robotics hands are inherently fun. For this projects, it is to be a bridge from the past proof of concept projects and future implementation projects. There are other robotics hands out there. Shadow Robotics makes air muscles, but their not for anything specific. There are companies for prosthetics. But this is a new project, with a specific market that isn't tapped yet.

4)What would you say are the major goals for you in the project?

Creating the bridge between projects by implementing wrist motion and demonstrating specific tool use capability. The project needs to be able to demonstrate actual working motions that will be useful to Dresser Rand.

5)What would you say are the major goals for the students in the project?

Getting a feel for taking a concept and seeing it through to creation. Finding a more realistic approach to projects. To get skills in working from concept through designing and following through. Then they can apply what they have learned in the real world.

6)What experiences have you hand with Dresser Rand? What do you think they want out of this project?

None. Don't really know if they hope to get anything useful out of this project and haven't heard back from them yet.

7)Any final thoughts?

The biggest goals are to get the wrist motions down and do the motions that Dresser Rand needs to do maintenance down.

Project Objective Statement

This project is the third generation of the artificial limb. The first generation created a 3 fingered hand and the second is creating a 5 fingered hand. The final goal of these projects is to have a robotic arm able to scale down for microvascular surgery or scale up for hazardous construction applications. The point of using a robotic arm for these applications is that by using a glove to control the robotic arm, it will be simple and intuitive control, thus not adding to the burden of the controller. This project is to complete the next generation design with the wrist, forearm and elbow. Also new to this iteration, a computer model will be used to test the controls system before a prototype is completed.

The primary focus of this iteration of the artificial limb track is to create an accurate simulation of air muscles and the joints they actuate, as well as establish communication between the control system and the computer model which will make this simulation possible. Also, prototypes of joints will be made to test and refine the simulation. A working physical prototype of a fully integrated arm with all joints is not the primary focus of the project.

Key Business Goals

Primary Market

Secondary Market

Assumptions and Constraints