Ngee Ann Polytechnic students invent mind-controlled prosthetic arm
Ngee Ann Polytechnic students create mind-controlled prosthetic arm that costs half of cheapest option on current market
When two polytechnic coursemates were creating a mind-controlled prosthetic arm, they focused on making it affordable.
Mr Kong Hou Jing and Mr Edwin Teoh, both 19, are engineering science students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's (NP) School of Engineering (SOE).
They invented the Low-Cost Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm for their final-year project.
Mr Kong said it will cost $1,500. Similar products on the market cost between $3,000 and $30,000.
The duo, who have been working on the project for the past 10 months, have until next month to complete it.
Mr Kong told The New Paper: "The mind-controlling field is relatively new, which makes it expensive. We focused on making it low cost because we want to make it accessible for most people."
The duo created the prosthetic arm through 3D printing, which uses polylactic acid, an affordable type of plastic that is also biodegradable. The prosthetic arm is targeted at the medical rehabilitation market.
Users will wear a Bluetooth-enabled headset with electrodes that detect brain waves. The software in the micro-controller inside the prosthetic arm will then interpret brain activity.
The users have to imagine themselves doing something, such as clenching their fist, to generate wave patterns that are assigned to different movements in the prosthetic arm.
The duo's project was showcased to the public last week at NP's open house, where they also conducted demonstrations.
Mr Teoh said: "We faced countless design failures. It was tedious because when certain partsdid not fit, we had to 3D print them again."
Mr Kong added that the electrical and programming aspect was also challenging.
Although the prototype can only clench its fists and make minor movements for now, the duo are planning to continue on improving it even after they graduate in May.
Mr Teoh said: "We are so invested in this project, we even stayed on in school to work on it until the security guards chased us out at around 11pm.
"We have plans to come back to improve on it. We are looking on making it more flexible to do more actions, such as brushing teeth or eating."
Mr Ong Teck Soon, a lecturer in the electronics and computer engineering division in SOE, said his students have achieved a milestone.
He said: "I am amazed and impressed. In SOE, we train students to have a good analytical mind, to be problem-solvers. That is what they have achieved. Now, I am looking for collaborators to come on board to actualise the invention."