A four-person undergraduate team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) captured first-place honors at the Third Annual Cornell Cup USA recently at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for the development of a smart robotic prosthetic hand.
The WPI team was selected from an initial field of about 100 teams, which was whittled down to less than three dozen finalists. The team—composed of Sean Casley, Deniz Ozgoren, Thanacha Choopojcharoen, and Adam Jardimza—received a $10,000 grand prize. Dubbed the “IrisHand,” the device is a semiautonomous robotic prosthesis capable of using an advanced vision system to determine the most appropriate finger positions for grasping an object. The team developed the hand as part of their senior capstone project.
Unlike similar prosthetic hands that are limited to 24 different preloaded grips, the team’s device allows for more grips while simultaneously simplifying the user input to just two commands: open and close.
“Our prosthetic hand does a lot of what your subconscious would do with your natural hand,” said Casley. “If you’re reaching for a cup or an object, you don’t have to actively think about where you need to position your fingers. We wanted to mimic this behavior.”
Casley said the development cost for the prosthetic hand was $1,700 and they are hoping to keep the final price under $20,000 to make it accessible to a larger population of amputees. The team said the current price point for a prosthetic hand ranges from $30,000 to $100,000.
The team was advised by Taskin Padir, assistant professor of robotics engineering, and Cagdas Onal, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
The Cornell Cup USA, presented by Intel, is a college-level embedded design competition created to empower student teams to become the inventors of the newest innovative applications of embedded technology. The two-day, expo-style event displayed student teams’ creations that were measured by a panel of judges. In addition to the $10,000 grand prize, second-place ($5,000) and third-place ($2,500) prizes were also awarded.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Cornell Cup USA
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Student programs, Design World articles, The Robot Report