A low-cost, customizable prosthetic hand was used and tested during Cybathlon 2020, a platform that challenges teams to develop assistive technologies suitable for everyday use with and for people with disabilities. A research team behind the Touch Hand 4.5 published a paper documenting the design and integration of the prosthesis, as well as the development of the mechanical structure of the hand, socket, electronics, and control system. The device, created with additive manufacturing, has a modular design.
In the competition, teams of technology developers from universities, companies, or non-governmental organizations, and a person with disabilities complete everyday tasks with their assistive technologies. Six tasks were performed during Cybathlon 2020 ARM challenge: Breakfast, Laundry, Clean Sweep, Home Improvement, Haptic Box, and Stacking. The Touch Hand team was the only team to complete the Haptic Box task in all three races.
The paper reviewed the Touch Hand 4.5’s performance in two categories: the Breakfast task, which entailed actions such as cutting a loaf of bread, lighting a candle, opening a sugar packet, plastic bottle and jar, and using a can opener; and the Haptic Box task, which tested the ability of the prosthesis to feel by having the pilot, or device user, identify an object in a closed box by touching the object without any visual feedback from the object.
The developers said that the device’s contributions were the design and development of an additive manufactured hand and socket with comfort, breathability, and decreased irritability; and the design optimization for a multigrip hand that allowed for the pinch grip, full grip, half grip, and a thumb grip, and slippage prevention.
The open-access paper, “Touch Hand 4.5: low-cost additive manufacturing prosthetic hand participated in Cybathlon 2020 ARM discipline,” was published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.
The next Cybathlon, a nonprofit project of ETH Zurich, will take place October 25-27, 2024.