Student team wins first prize for smart prosthetic hand

A student team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute won the first place prize of $10,000 at the Cornell Cup USA for the development of a robotic prosthetic hand, according to a press release.

Recent undergraduates Sean Casley, Deniz Ozgoren, Thanacha Choopojcharoen and Adam Jardim, created the IrisHand, a semiautonomous robotic prosthesis that uses an advanced vision system to determine appropriate finger positions for grasping an object.

Casley said unlike similar prosthetic hands that are limited to certain preloaded grips, the IrisHand allows for more grips and simplifies user input.

“Our prosthetic hand does a lot of what your subconscious would do with your natural hand,” he stated in the release. “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.”

The development cost for the prosthetic hand is $1,700 and the team aims to keep the price under $20,000, making it accessible to a larger population of amputees. A provisional patent on the concept has been filed.

The Cornell Cup USA, presented by Intel, is a college-level design competition in which student teams invent innovative applications of embedded technology.

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