portfolio: DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009
client: HDT Global/John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program)
phase 2&3 - a prosthetic Finger, Fingertip Sensor, and Palm
Kinea Design is part of the multinational RP 2009 team led by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). The team is developing a sophisticated mechanical prosthesis that will mimic the sensory-motor capabilities of a natural hand and arm. The prosthesis features over 80 sensors and the ability for 10-13 different axes of motion in the hand alone. It will provide amputees with not only greater functionality, but more intuitive, thought-controlled movement of the artificial limb, driven by neural integration or by electromyography (EMG) electrodes.
New biomechatronic technology will give arm amputees improved control of a prosthetic hand, including a sense of touch. Conventional mechanical prostheses are typically simple grippers. Since these devices do not provide tactile feeling, a user must rely on vision to control their artificial arm.
To address these challenges, Kinea Design LLC developed a novel tactile (haptic) fingertip sensor that enables amputees to explore and interact with their environments. The device provides a broad array of sensory information to the user, including temperature, textures, pressure, friction, and four distinct points of contact.
Additional Kinea Design RP 2009 contributions included:
- a Modular Finger System with one actuated axis of motion: an artificial finger that provides enhanced dexterity and grasping patterns, including an ability to both curl in a natural motion and conform around an object.
- the MPL Palm Module: a stand-alone module that serves as the principal electromechanical interface and enclosure for all the electronic and mechanical hand and wrist-connecting components designed by Kinea Design and other RP 2009 collaborators.
RP 2009 innovations are profiled in an article on Bionics in the January 2010 issue of National Geographic.
phase 1 - a 15-dof prosthetic hand powerplant
Faced with the task of duplicating the functionality of the human hand and wrist with an electro-mechanical powerplant, Kinea Design focused on ways to provide optimal power and energy efficiency, as well as minimize the weight and volume of the powerplant, all without compromising aggressive speed and torque requirements or reducing the sheer quantity of degrees of actuation. Kinea invented a novel cobotic powerplant to be located in the forearm region, weighing less than two pounds, which couples artificial tendons actuating 15 hand joints to a single electro-magnetic motor via infinitely-variable rolling-contact transmissions. The 15 infinitely-variable transmissions draw power as needed for their respective hand joint from a common shaft driven by a single motor. This architecture proved more lightweight and more power and energy efficient than using 15 motors paired to 15 fixed-ratio drivetrains.
Kinea Design integrated sensing into the design, developing sensors for the control of the electro-mechanical powerplant that fit in the space dictated by the drivetrain geometry. Off-the-shelf ICs were packaged on custom circuit-boards to form the sensor element, and custom target scales were integrated into the moving components.
- World News' DARPA's Bionic Arm, click here.
- for press release regarding this project, click here.
- for press clippings about this project, click here.
DARPA's Modular Prosthetic Limb videos:
- for a video demo of the Modular Prosthetic Limb, click here.
one-motor finger videos:
- for a video demo of the one motor finger, click here.
- for a video demo of the Proto2 hand, click here.
- for a video of an initial prototype of the cobotic transmission, click here.
- Popular Mechanics 2007 Award.
phase 3 pictures:
phase 1 pictures:
kinea Design is proud to participate with other international technology leaders, including HDT Engineering Services, Microprocessor Designs, Otto Bock Healthcare Products, Van Doren Designs and the Biomechatronics Development Laboratory of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, on the ground-breaking Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program 2009 under the direction of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). (This is only a partial list of the RP2009 team.)
The Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).