Mentor: Erik Engeberg, Ph.D.
Scholar: Wen-Yu (Marty) Cheng
Home Institution: Florida Atlantic University
Advanced robotic prosthetics in the current state can cost upwards of $20,000, which puts them well out of reach for patients who desperately need them but aren't able to afford them. We are currently developing a robotic prosthetic arm socket with an integrated haptic feedback system using 3D printing to help reduce the extremely high cost and bring comfortable high-tech prosthetics to the consumer level market. Due to the unique shape of each patient’s arm, the traditional one-off production methods greatly increases costs, while the customizability of 3D printing allows for a much faster and more efficient manufacturing process. However, unlike the typical rigid hand powered 3D printed prosthetic composed of PLA plastic that restricts many degrees of freedom of the user’s arm, the prosthetic we are producing uses the flexible material Polymaker Polyflex to allow the socket to conform to the user’s arm to greatly increase the range of motion and, in turn, its usability. With the integration of a haptic feedback system from the previous REU research team, users not only get the comfort and flexibility from the socket, but they also receive crucial tactile responses that makes the prosthetic feel much more natural and easier to operate.