Biomimetic hands are products which involve a sync between the action of natural fingers with the artificial fingers. In this project they are used in measuring the dimensions of objects for cognition and manipulation possibilities. The methodology involved in this project is the use of NiTi springs (SMA, Shape Memory Alloy based) which get back their original shape when heated beyond the Phase transition temperature. Using these materials, the joint angles of the artificial hand could be altered.
Proximity sensors are attached to the biomimetic hand’s fingers. These sensors are useful in avoiding the obstacles located in its environment. Laser sensors are placed at strategic points to measure the dimensions of the object. Small cameras are also placed over the hand at strategic points and its image input is useful in measuring the dimensions of the object in question. From the data provided by the sensors and camera the joint angles can be found out using MATLAB to configure the kinematics of the biomimetic hand so as to make its movement smoother. These techniques help in finding the object’s dimensions and also in ironing out the sudden jerks in movement of the biomimetic hand, hence making it more effective and usable in common real life applications.
The product finds a little difficulty in manufacturability as commercially available 3D printers and PLA filaments are used to fabricate the product. The novelty involved in this product is the use of compact and more commonly available components, since an individual SMA spring is used to produce rotatory motion in the joints. A normal spring is connected on the top side of the finger to bring the finger back to the original position when the springs are not supplied with current. One limitation of this product is the delay in action of artificial hand which is not in the scope of this project.
In relation to marketability this product has various applications in Physics, Chemical laboratories and prosthetics field as in the case of assistive devices. In laboratories, they could be used to check the dimensions of objects inside toxic environment when processes like Physical Vapor Deposition or Chemical Vapor Deposition is performed on them. In this way, the sensors attached in the artificial hand can get the accurate dimension of the object and thus calculate even the amount of deposition. Also they can be used to check the dimensions of electrical components like strain gauges. For example, to measure the gauge length of a thin film strain gauge, here natural hands cannot be used as the moisture from our hands will alter the concentration of the deposition in a particular area.
Hence, biomimetic hands which could be remotely controlled can be used in finding the dimensions like gauge length in these cases. All these would lead to a better cognizing capability leading to a better manipulation of objects as the situation would demand.