Project Team: Bryanna Benicia, Elton Su, Hunter Garnier, Sabrina Hua
Course: Upper Limb Prosthesis Design (ME 193C), Fall 2018
The Theohand is a prosthetic device that utilizes soft robotics to help our Project Partner Theo improve his mobility and way of life. Theo is a 3 year old boy born with a birth defect called Amelia. This condition causes individuals to be born without one or more limbs, or can result in a shrunken or deformed limb. In Theo’s case, he was born with only one-third of his right forearm. We aimed to create an intuitive device that enabled him to do his favorite hobbies, such as bike riding and drawing, much more easily.
Because of Theo’s young age and lack of experience with prostheses, the user experience of the device was a huge priority. We wanted to create a functional and empowering device that enhanced his life. Theo would use the prosthetic by using his able hand to turn a knob that tightens the prosthetic into a flexible grip. The mechanism maintains the grip, allowing him to easily hold a marker or stay balanced on a bike. The device also has LEDs and a speaker that signaled different lights or sounds to convey to Theo when his prosthetic hand has firmly grasped an object. This allows him to sense a gripped object without visually looking at it. In addition, because Theo is a young child, we wanted to make the prosthetic fun and included a “Party Mode” button that turns the prosthetic into a mini-light show with music. We wanted Theo to feel empowered in his hand and be proud to wear his prosthetic. A major consideration was in a bionic appearance, so the prosthetic can be a focus on what is there rather than what isn’t. With the Theohand, we explore the intersection of cutting edge prosthesis technology with human centered design, creating a device that provides greater mobility but also enjoyment in Theo’s life.