Prosthetics and Rehabilatative Robotics
3D Printing Prosthetic Hands
3D printing offers new opportunities in the design of prosthetics, making highly customised devices manufacturable at low cost and with short lead times. By working with the prosthetics service in the NHS to foresee common requirements we are able to develop a modular, adaptable, and scalable 3d printed prosthetic hand suitable for both adults and children. This approach allows the advantages of 3D printing to be realised without the need for the prosthetists to be trained in computer aided design, or for each hand to be individually designed – prosthetists will simply select the combination of modules and adaptations required, input the sizes and print the device.
Soft Robotics for Stroke Rehabilitation and the ‘SOPHIA’ Project
This project investigates the design, calibration and testing of the “SOPHIA” (Soft Orthotic Physiotherapy Hand Interactive Aid) system. SOPHIA is a soft robotic device for stroke rehabilitation, more specifically for hand motor impairment recovery. The system will be of a lightweight design, low cost, aesthetically friendly, and it will help patients to recover normal patterns of motion in their hand after a stroke. It will also aid physiotherapists in tracking how the rehabilitation is progressing. The project is funded by the Royal Society/Newton Fund and it is a partnership between Heriot-Watt University (HWU), University of Edinburgh (UoE) and the International Institute of Neuroscience – Edmond and Lily Safra (IIN-ELS) in Macaiba, Brazil. The project is leaded at HWU by Dr Patricia A. Vargas and Prof David Corne together with the PhD student, Alistair McConnell; at IINN-ELS by Dr Fabricio Brasil and Dr Renan Moioli, and at UoE, by Dr Adam Stokes.
The SOPHIA project, lead by Dr Patricia Vargas, and involving partners from across the world is described here.