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Hand prosthesis that will "grow" with the child

Photo of the team behind the project

The team behind the project. From the left: Vo Thi Hoang Ni, Jan Tracz, Ewelina Drelich, Krzysztof Popielski, Katarzyna Matys-Popielska, Filip Włodarczyk

Young researchers from the Warsaw University of Technology are working on a modular prosthesis for children. They plan to devote the coming months to the development of a research preprototype of their solution.

The availability of advanced prostheses for children and adolescents is a significant problem. As if that weren’t enough, such prostheses still need to be systematically replaced. This generates additional costs, often too high for the family to bear on a regular basis.

– What distinguishes our solution is its modularity, meaning that only some elements will need to be replaced as the child grows – explain the creators of the project. – Therefore, it can be said that our prosthesis will "grow" with the child. The idea is also distinguished by the incorporation of virtual reality (VR) that will enable the personalization of the prosthesis grips – a solution that is not used even in prostheses for adults.

It is assumed that the prosthesis will be myoelectric, meaning that the control will be carried out using signals sent by the muscles, which is a very promising, but high-risk solution, on which the team hopes to conduct separate research. If these tests confirm the usefulness of EMG (electromyographic) signals in recognizing hand movements, the proposed prosthesis will have a much greater range of motion, functionality, and intuitive operation. 

The idea of the WUT’s team was distinguished during the Tech-Athon – a marathon of work on technological solutions with implementation potential. The program lasts several months and is directed at doctoral students from the Warsaw University of Technology. During the Tech-Athon final, the best teams were selected and granted funds for further development of their projects. The team working on the hand prosthesis received a distinction and 30,000 PLN. 

– Over the next nine months, our work will focus on developing a research demonstrator of the prosthesis, which we will present at the Demo Day organized as part of Tech-Athon – announce young researchers from the WUT. – This will be the next step in our journey towards creating a fully functional solution. 

The idea behind creating a prosthesis that would "grow" with the child was initiated in the diploma theses by Ewelina Drelich. We have already talked about this concept. Since then, the idea, along with the developed prosthesis, has continued to evolve, and during Tech-Athon, a six-member team was involved in working on it, also including Krzysztof Popielski, Katarzyna Matys-Popielska, Vo Thi Hoang Ni, Filip Włodarczyk and Jan Tracz. The substantive supervisor of the project is Anna Sibilska-Mroziewicz, PhD.

Graphics presenting the 3D model of the thumb designed by Ewelina Drelich as part of the POB IDUB BIOTECH-1 project

3D model of the thumb designed by Ewelina Drelich as part of the POB IDUB BIOTECH-1 project