Brain Controlled Accurate Prosthetic Hand:

User intent from EEG/EMG, high biofidelity from 3D printed bones & laser cut ligaments/tendons

Mind controlled, i.e. thoughts controlled Accurate Prosthetic Hand [click on image to see movie]

YouTube: Advanced Accurate Prosthetic Hand controlled by thought alone, Demonstration @ 2017 Cambridge Science Festival


The purpose of this project, Accurate Prosthetic Hand, is to explore a method by which to improve the dexterity of artificial hands by closely mimicking the biomechanics of a human hand. The biomechanics of each human finger was analyzed to determine the kinematics and finger trajectories that the experimental hand should be able to mimic. In addition to the kinematics and finger trajectories, the biomechanics analysis was used to determine what materials were needed to simulate tendons and musculature of the human hand. The mechanical system of the experimental hand is actuated using several stepper motors controlled by electroencephalogram (EEG) signals and electromyograph (EMG) signals. The majority of the experimental handís motions are controlled using EEG, with three distinct thoughts executing three distinct grips: pinch, hook, and point. EMG signals are used for finer motor control, such as controlling the strength of each grip pattern. The completion of this project resulted in a prosthetic hand capable of nine degrees of freedom as well as the creation of a control system that relies on sensory input from the mind and body; all while preserving the important biomechanical data that allows the human hand its unique dexterity.

The 18 degree of freedom, 15 inch, 4.95 pound, high fidelity biomimetic hand and forearm system actuated by 9 stepper motors has 3D printed exact copies of human hand bones and laser cut tendons and ligaments. Manufacturing cost was only $350 (!). User intent is obtained from EEG and EMG signals. The system has been showcased at the 2017 Cambridge Science Festival using EEG signals alone. Out of about 50 visitors who tested thought control capabilities of the accurate prosthetic hand, majority was able to generate a peace sign after trying the system for only a minute or two. (!)

Publications and Presentations:

1. Saint-Elme Elina, Mervyn Larrier, Casey Kracinovich, Dylan Renshaw, Karen Troy, and Marko Popovic. "Design of a biologically accurate prosthetic hand." In 2017 International Symposium on Wearable Robotics and Rehabilitation (WeRob), pp. 1-2. IEEE, 2017.

2. Mervyn A. Larrier, Jr., Elina Saint-Elme, Casey Kracinovich, and Dylan Renshaw, "Accurate Prosthetic Hand," WPI Major Qualifying Project, Advisor Marko Popovic, Co-advisor Karen Troy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, April 2017.

MQP Presentation, April 20 2017 BME FINALIST

WPI Popovic Labs, Cambridge Science Festival April 15 2017 (Science Carnival and Robot Zoo), May 4, 2017

Welcome to Popovic Labs: December 2016 Edition , March 3, 2017

Current Researchers:

Mervyn A. Larrier, Jr. and Marko B. Popovic

Past Researchers:

Elina Saint-Elme, Casey Kracinovich, and Dylan Renshaw