According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are around 70 million people worldwide whose first language is some kind of sign language. In the US, ASL (American Sign Language) speakers number from five hundred thousand to two million. If you go to Google translate, though, there’s no option for sign language.
[Alex Foley] and friends decided to do something about that. They were attending McHack (a hackathon at McGill University) and decided to convert speech into sign language. They thought they were prepared, but it turns out they had to work a few things out on the fly. (Isn’t that always the case?) But in the end, they prevailed, as you can see in the video below.
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All hands are on deck over at MIT where a very handy new trackpad has been created that will be able to give users a free hand to do other tasks. The device is called the NailO and attaches to one’s thumbnail, which allows the user an easy and reportedly natural way to use a trackpad while your hands are full, dirty, or otherwise occupied.
The device reportedly works like any normal trackpad, but is about the size of a quarter and attaches to the thumbnail in such a way that it takes advantage of the natural motion of running an index finger over the thumbnail. It communicates via Bluetooth radio, and has four layers which all go hand-in-hand: an artistic covering (to replicate the look of a painted fingernail), the sensors, the circuitry, the battery, and presumably an adhesive of some sort.
Details are quite sparse, but the device is scheduled to make its debut at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Seoul, South Korea very soon. If it can be made less bulky (although it’s somewhat uncomfortable to call something smaller than a quarter “bulky”) this might be, hands down, the next greatest evolution in mouse technology since multi-touch. We have to hand it to MIT for coming up with such a unique wearable!
3D printing – with the promise of low-scale manufacturing and custom parts – is ideal for the prosthetic industry, but so far prosthetic hands have been a very, very hard nut to crack. [Joel] has been working on the Open Hands Project, a project that aims to make robotic prosthetics accessible to makers, researchers, and amputees alike.
Even though the mechanisms inside the hand are fairly simple – DC gear motors retracting steel cable ‘tendons’ – [Joel] was able to pack all this equipment into a very small volume that isn’t much bigger than real, meat-based hands. To actuate the mechanical muscles in the hand, the user simply flexes a few muscles in their forearm. These electrical signals are picked up by a suite of custom electronics and tell the Open Hand what to do
In [Joel]’s Indiegogo video, he goes over what makes his robohands work with a little help from [Liam Corbett], hand amputee. Aesthetically, the Open Hand is a big improvement over [Liam]’s two-pronged hook, and with the dexterity demonstrated in the video, possibly a lot more capable.
Continue reading “3D Printed Prosthetic Hand”