Quick, Cheap, and Creative Development for Robotics Education: Understanding and Experiencing Prosthetics Technology
Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita-shi, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
In this paper, we propose a cheap, quick, and creative developmental kit for prosthetic applications, and we report on demonstrations in robotics education based on it. The proposed kit consists of an Electro-Myo-Graphic (EMG) sensor, an EMG-to-motor controller, and a wire-driven device. It is designed to be used to provide robotics courses to help middle school / high school / university students to understand today–s science and technology – especially prosthetics technology. The concept of prosthetics technology is generally difficult for participants to understand, so we provide the following three demonstrations in the course: (1) “Simple Prosthetic Hand” is an imitation of the most common commercially-available electric prosthetic hand. The “Simple Prosthetic Hand” illustrates that a low-precision design can be inexpensive to produce yet appropriate for the understanding of prosthetic hand technology. (2) The “Rock-Scissors-Paper Prosthetic Hand” indicates research-target prosthetic hands. It clearly delivers EMG-to-motion discrimination processes. (3) The “EMG Presbyopia Spectacles” exemplify the concept that even beginners can possibly use unique ideas to design creative prosthetic applications based on daily activities. The participants’ interactions with these three demonstrations contribute to their understanding the concept of prosthetic application. We have conducted the educational courses for middle school, high school, and university students. For middle and high school students, we have provided 2-hour lectures, and the demonstrations have helped the participants to understand why and how prosthetic applications work. For university students, we have provided a 6-hour robot design course with the kit. The participants have built both simple and complicated structures, and they have enjoyed controlling them with their muscles.
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