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About our project

The hope is that with really easily accessible materials, anyone within a developing nation could theoretically come up with their own materials and make their own prosthetic arm. At the end of the “arm” — which is an empty one-litre pop bottle with the bottom cut out of it — there’s a balloon filled with sugar.
When there’s no vacuum applied to it, the balloon is soft, so it can deform around any object. Attached to the balloon is a bike pump that’s been reversed, so it acts as a vacuum rather than a pump. The pump operates by pressing down on a loop of rope with the foot. 
When the vacuum is applied, the balloon “grasps” the object and can pick it up. As long the vacuum is on, the object can be held. This solution is based on what is called a jamming gripper, which is often used in robotics
The cost: $25.

Meet our team

Partners and mentors

We want to thank the many people who helped us with this project. Our mechanical engineering professor Chris Morton guided us through the process with patience and great advice. And, our consultation with JBM Prosthetics was invaluable.

Our photo gallery