Door opening help

For those who are seeking prosthetic limbs, or just require a little bit of robotic gripper help, the choices are very few and very costly. A newcomer to the area is hoping to change the costly part with their door opening arm. Costing only $2,000 to build, it is quite cheap compared to the other offerings. This arm can grip, twist, and swing its arm at the same time using a single motor thanks to a slip clutch.

[via Popular Science]


  1. hackforfree says:

    still no reason why it should cost $2000 and the assumption thats a great deal is ridiculous. i really wish people building this stuff would lose a limb and then some slime ball would offer them assistance for thousands of dollars on top of their medical bills.

  2. josh says:

    Two grand? There’s no way that’s more than a hundred in materials even if you made it with some nice light titanium alloy. Even if you made just one with no custom tooling at all using standard equipment like a milling machine and a lathe there’s no way it would come out to anything near two grand. And if you were to make custom jigs and fixtures for mass production forget about it, say maybe fifty bucks a pop if you want a bit of having fun money for the weekend?

  3. tj says:

    This may sound crazy, but this same thing was commercialized in the late seventies during the rise of industrial accidents.

    It was then called the Hand-Tuck-It from a company out of Nantucket, MA.

    It was the Hand-tuck-it from Nantucket..

  4. Max says:

    All inventions start out with a high price tag but come down after stream lining. How much did the first prosthetic foot cost? This looks to me like something else to add to the ever growing Swiss Army Knife of aids to help the handicap.

  5. CH says:

    Wasn’t there an upright wheelchair at some point? No need for robot arms there.

  6. Zero says:

    I *think* that part of the expensive bill is due to this being classified “medicine” and having to get FDA-approval and such.

  7. micke says:

    the upright wheelchair, i think your referring to is the IBOT. I think it cost over $30,000 us.
    there are many people that have cervical injuries, where the use of their arm and hand muscles are either non existent compromised.
    SO an IBOT still wont open doors.
    The first problem i see with this design is , if the person is using a wheelchair, they do not fit through the old size, non ADA door.
    The 2000 price tag is ridiculous, as is the price on all of this type of stuff.
    A typical wheel chair, the ones that someone would use to try and live a normal life cost around $10,000. They are made to break down quick so that the users can transfer into a car, beak down the chair and put it in the backseat. only those with enough upper body use and strength can do this.

  8.    says:

    Super-size one of those Gator Grip sockets and rubberize the pins.

    Attach gearbox + motor for rotation.



  9. supershwa says:

    I see bad things coming from giving senior citizens mechs…

  10. Jon says:

    Quantitatively, what kind of torque would something like this have to apply to turn handles/knobs? Any tips motor selection for accomplishing tasks that require fairly significant amounts of torque (well…compared to the things we see in smaller electronics)?

  11. SheeEttin says:

    $2000 is ridiculously expensive. It’d be much cheaper to just replace the doorknobs in your house to the kind shown on top in the picture (and use a much simpler stick arm, if necessary).

    I don’t know about other countries, but in the United States, most public buildings don’t use knobs to open doors. It’s either the same kind I just mentioned or a crash bar.

  12. Ryan says:

    Note on the iBot things, they’re not being produced anymore, not enough sold sadly enough

  13. therian says:

    in 50 years robotic prosthetics will be as common as crutches today

  14. Kevin says:

    If you can do it so much cheaper, please do. As for replacing all your door knobs, the point is to enable people to go more places. You may not have an issue at the store, but offices, hotels, and other people’s homes may not be as user friendly. The “crash bar” works on the way out, but how do you get in? not every one of those is on an unlatched door like at the mall.

  15. SPARCS says:

    if you want to price anything specific to disability then start at the price it is worth and add a 0 on the end. Wheelchairs that are really a modded pram $12,000, bath chairs made from PVC tubing and “shade cloth” $500… so it would seem $2000 is par for the course …shittingly so }-(

  16. Gareth says:

    This is not an invention or a hack. It looks to me like someone applying unnecessary technology to a problem that is simple to solve. Ok, meby by that rationale it is a hack. Just take the doors off?

  17. Viadd says:

    But what if the door is locked? If you have trouble turning a doorknob, inserting a key and turning it is even harder for people with limited mobility.

    That’s why my wheelchair will sport a shotgun with a breaching round.

  18. Rollyn01 says:

    Mine with have an arm a la Johnny Five’s multi-tooled arm w/ lockpicking capabilities and still twist knobs, push panic bars and pull open doors. Shotgun? Well… I’ll save that for a hidden suprise for some trying to jack my sweet chair. lol

  19. Stan says:

    I really liked that post, I am a little puzzled, and have a small question. May I send you an email?

  20. Shell Harris says:

    I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type I & II and I have faced this pricing situation my whole life. It’s actually offensive and feels like no one gives a shit about your disability just so you remain disabled and needing equipment.

    That’s life in America though!

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