The Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, Amritapuri campus, won two prestigious awards at the recently held International Conference on Robotics and Automation for Humanitarian Applications RAHA 2016, Amritapuri, during December 18-20, 2016.

Mr. Pramod S., Assistant Professor and Ph. D. Research Scholar, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amritapuri campus, bagged the Best Research Award in the international category, winning over participants from many countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and the USA. He showcased his research work, “Multi-Fingered Robotic Hand for Prosthetic Application”. He explained how a robotic hand can be manufactured and controlled by a single actuator, instead of many actuators or motors as usually found in many such devices. Moreover, an innovative asymmetric bellow patented finger joints were provided in the robotic hand.

Ms. Gayathri G., 3rd semester MTech student, won a Silver Award for her research work, “Bionic Hand Controlled by EEG Signal.” She explained how a prosthetic hand can be controlled by brain signals through EEG sensors.

Dr. Ganesh Udupa, mentor of both the researchers, shared his insight about their achievement:

“Overall, it was a great robotic competition as there were 35 teams in both International and National categories and so it is a great achievement by Mr. Pramod S. and Ms. Gayathri G. Both of them presented very nicely to the audience, as well as to the jury. Our robotic research work done at the Mechatronics and Intelligence System Research Lab, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, is one of the best in the world. We are on par with the world leading robotic research labs.”

“About 50 per cent of handicapped people do not use their prosthetics regularly, due to heavy weight and low functionality. Cost is another deterring factor in the case of most advanced robotic hands. There are about 10, 000,000 amputees worldwide. The main factors for loss of upper or lower limbs are accidents, as well as diseases and injuries. For diseases and tumors, amputation is a way of stopping the spread of the disease to the rest of the body" he further explained.

Dr. Udupa said that the developed 3D-printed robotic hand prototype could function almost as well as a human hand. It's a novel underactuated hand. Lab tests of the hand showed better potential compared to other prosthetic hands available, in terms of load carrying capacity, durability and strength. The technology has the potential for a wider application besides being used for prosthetic limbs,

“Artificial hands currently in use are complicated in design and control structure. Essentially based on hydraulic and pneumatic elements such as wires, cables and chains, belts, artificial muscles, etc., they are expensive. However, the prosthetic hand developed at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is simple to manufacture, and a low cost alternative, as it is 3D-printed,” added Dr. Gupta.

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