Rouse Awards – Chloe Curtis-Smith’s myoelectric prosthetic hand design
31 Oct 2017
Chloe Curtis-Smith (Upper Sixth) collected the Rouse Award for Engineering, Technology and Computing after making a prosthetic hand using myoelectric technology.
Her ambitious project aimed to discover how cheaply such a hand could be designed and produced, and in their assessment, the Rouse Awards judges declared it “an impressive achievement”.
She got the idea for the research after doing work experience in Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s clinical engineering department.
Chloe said: “They had a 3D printer and they were 3D-printing different products as part of their research and development, so I was inspired by that and thought I could make something myself.
“I chose a hand because it’s quite easy to demonstrate a mechanism for clenching, so it seemed like the best body part to do. I wanted to make some sort of prosthetic that could actually be used.”
Chloe had some success in creating her more inexpensive version of the myoelectric hand – an externally powered artificial hand controlled with the electrical signals generated naturally by the user’s muscles.
She said: “The myoelectric design would cost thousands of pounds just because of the technology involved, but the one I made was under £100, so it’s significantly cheaper.
“The one I made can only clench and grip, but it would be possible for me to develop it further so you could do single finger movements.
“It would be quite easy to do by just changing the servos and the way it’s wired up, but I didn’t have the time to do it.”
Chloe talks more about developing her project and why she wants to become an engineer below.
The Rouse Awards are generously sponsored by Alan and Valerie Hirzel.