Develop an object grasping tool for Eric

About Eric

Eric is french and fifty years old. He lives in Switzerland since several years now. He gots a car accident that left me tetraplegic; he can move his arms but with some limitations and weakness. He is interested in art and culture in general, and particularly appreciates everything about science and technology; that’s the reason why he is looking forward to do this hackathon and to live a human and scientific adventure.

Challenge

The goal of this challenge was to develop a device that allows Eric to grasp objects when they fall on the ground. Eric cannot pick up his keys or phone when it is on the ground. This sort of tools already exists, but are designed for people that have a complete control of their hands. Eric can move his hand, but cannot use his thumb (e.g. no pinch movement); the challenge here was to create or adapt a tool that Eric can control using his remaining hand functions.
Check out the video below to learn more about Eric and this challenge.

Solutions

The team has developed a telescopic plier to pick small objects (e.g. keys, bottles, phone) on the floor. The opening/closing of the plier was controlled using a wrist flexion sensor that detected Eric’s intention; for instance, when Eric performed a wrist extension, the sensors would bend and send a command to the plier to open; when performed a write flexion, the sensor would go back to its original position, and the plier would close and allow him grabbing the object. In order to attach the device to Eric’s arm, the team molded a 3D-printed piece of Eric’s arm and strapped it to his arm. This piece allowed Eric to attach the plier by himself easily.

Video