Project/blog link:Need a Hand? A look into Prosthetic Design BASIS Advisor: Ms. Megan Mitrovich Internship location: ASU, Neural Control of Movement Laboratory Onsite Mentor: Dr. Marco Santello; Dr. Quishi Fu, Research Director; Assistant Professor
Can you imagine a day without using your hand? Often, we take its many functions for granted: turning a doorknob, greeting someone, or holding the railings on a staircase. However, for many, these tasks present daily challenges. According to a 2008 study by St. Olaf College, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the U.S. alone. Prosthetics have advanced rapidly in recent years in an effort to achieve the complete functionality of their organic counterparts. My project looks at a current prosthetic model, the Softhand Pro device, to gain insight into future innovations and enhancements. Using the MuJo Haptix simulation software and the Myo Armband device to record muscle activity, I will compare data obtained from a prosthetic hand and my own hand. I will observe how well the Softhand Pro device has replicated the functions of its organic counterpart. Through controlled simulations, I will vary an object’s weight to record muscle and device activity and analyze the response to different levels of force. This study will show the effectiveness and downfalls of the Softhand Pro in reference to the motor function of grasping. Concurrent with this project, I will perform a study on social attitudes towards prosthetics in general. I hope my findings will provide valuable knowledge that will assist in overcoming the physical challenges and social stigma faced by those who use prosthetics.