A group of engineering undergraduates from the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces (MAHI) Lab at Rice University, Houston, Texas, developed a method of sensory feedback to help users control and use an upper-limb prosthetic device. As part of their project, “Proprioceptive Feedback for an Enhanced Prosthetic Limb Design,” the Magic Touch team created an armband that is worn by the person using a prosthesis. As the prosthetic hand opens and closes, a rubber wheel in the armband rotates, pulling against the residual limb to indicate to what degree the hand is open or closed.
“Using a prosthetic is still about learning what you can do and what you can’t do,” Bryan Solomon, a member of Magic Touch team, told the Houston Chronicle. “It takes a lot of mental effort to use a prosthetic limb-you have to watch it all the time.”
The group of biological, mechanical, and electrical and computer engineering students won a Students’ Choice Award for the armband device in the George R. Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Competition held April 17 at the university. The event is put on by the Brown School of Engineering and Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and features senior capstone designs and other student projects suggested by leaders in science and technology to solve real-world problems. The competition is a chance for students to demonstrate practical skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions.