A student design project to create a robotic hand has utilised Thomson electric linear actuators to provide the gripping motion for the fingers and thumb.
Thomson LA-1 actuators form an integral part of a robotic hand that has won the Best Innovation Award in Sweden's annual Unga Forskare Young Scientists competition.
The hand was designed and built by 19-year-old Kristianstad student Johan Hjalmarrson, originally as a school project. It then went on to win a regional innovation award before progressing to the national finals.
Hjalmarrson explains: "At first the project was a challenge for my technical skills, but then I realised that with more work I could have a fully-functional prosthetic hand."
The hand uses bicycle chain links for joints, while springs extend fingers made out of aluminium. Six Thomson LA-1 linear actuators - more usually found in industrial applications where space is at a premium - pull wires connected to each finger in order to close them again. While the four fingers only close in one direction - like a fist - the thumb is much more manoeuvrable. This makes it look more human and gives the whole hand a greater selection of grips.
Fingertips made of rubber, and a palm with a rubber plate, increase the hand's grip. The result is a hand that can grip a variety of useful objects, from a piece of paper to a pen and a drinking bottle.
Hjalmarrson concludes: "My prototype is currently manipulated by five joysticks, one for each finger. However, I am now hoping to be able to integrate a nerve impulse-driven control system."
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