Rice University students build functional robotic arm for a 17-year-old
Dee Faught is a 17-year-old who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta – a genetic condition which causes brittle bones. Over the year, wheelchair bound Dee has been dependent on others for every little thing. But now, thanks to a fully-functional robotic arm developed by engineering students at Rice University, Dee can be more independent and reach out for things own his own. Called the R-ARM, the robotic hand designed specifically for Dee is really state-of-the-art and has won the engineering students behind the arm the George R. Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Competition.
The R-ARM robotic arm fits onto Dee’s wheelchair and be controlled by a handheld video game controller to pick up objects and perform other day to day tasks. Not compromising on the ability of the robotic hand, the designer students have been able to keep down the cost of the R-ARM to less than $800 (which is marginal in comparison to commercial robotic arms that cost around $25,000).
The R-ARM robotic arm was designed at the Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. The students behind the project intend to make the R-ARM a commercial product, for which they are going to apply for grants soon.