Shruthi Suresh, Brett English, Charles Martin, Sreeram Nagappa, Nickolaus Will, Shanmugam Muruga
Paralysis or weakness of the muscles in the wrist makes it difficult for individuals with upper limb impairments to perform daily manual activities such as unlocking doors with keys or swiping credit cards. Wrist orthoses are commonly used to maintain the normal position of the hand and a flaccid wrist. However, these passive devices only provide support without much added functionality, are expensive and require a trained specialist to ensure perfect fit. We designed the WristSense, a smart, rapidly prototyped wrist orthotic outfitted with off-the-shelf electronics and gesture recognition capabilities. For the development of the WristSense, we prioritized developing a solution which was a) easily and rapidly manufactured, b) had customizable fit, and c) allowed customizable control. The
WristSense is 3D printed and its honeycomb structure provides a good strength to weight ratio, allows breathability and speed of manufacturing. Anyone with access to a 3D printer could print a WristSense. The electronics used for the control of the WristSense are inexpensive, readily available components which can be assembled
easily. To allow a customizable fit, the WristSense is printed flat and mildly heated to make it moldable and then fit to a user’s hand intuitively without needing special training. Lastly, users can train the WristSense with tailored gestures they find most comfortable to perform actions of daily life. The WristSense is inexpensive and would
open more employment opportunities for people with upper limb impairments, increase their independence and productivity, and reduce reliance on caregiver services to perform some daily tasks.