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