‘Farm arm’ could enable amputees to use farming machinery

A group of mechanical engineering students at Northeastern University have developed “the farm arm,” an upper limb prosthesis that could allow amputees to operate farming machinery.

The design fea­tures a pros­thetic ter­minal device, a tita­nium end piece and set of 3-​​D printed adapters that can be switched in and out to match the controls being operated.

“Our design emu­lates where the hand would be at the point of inter­face with [a] tractor[’s] con­trols [for instance],” Andrew Waite, one of five students on the team stated in a university press release. “This pro­vides a good oppor­tu­nity for proof of con­cept and to val­i­date our design,” Daniel Walsh, another student on the project, added.

The team expects the device to be universally compatible with different agricultural equipment and eliminate the need for a grasping mech­a­nism.

They presented the design in December 2014 as part of their senior capstone project and have performed user testing to further refine it. They are now assessing man­u­fac­turing options and exploring ways to take the device to market.



Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.


From left: Northeastern University students Carly Gajewski, Danny Walsh, Jake Cohen, Andrew Waite and Jonathan Leydon show their “farm arm” capstone project.

Source: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University



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