High school student invents robotic arm for disabled
The son of a motorbike repairman, an 11th grader in the central province of Quang Tri, has created a low-cost robotic arm for the disabled.
Pham Huy is a student in the chemistry class of the Quang Tri Town High School for the Gifted in Quang Tri province. His robotic arm won first prize at the National Science & Technology Competition for Northern High School Students in the 2016-2017 school year
Huy said that the "robotic arm" device is used to support basic movements.
“I know that in Quang Tri in particular and Vietnam in general, there are many disabled people who could be victims of landmines/UXO, traffic accidents or birth defects. Most of them do not have the tools to support activities in daily lives."
When he was in eighth grade, he watched a TV program about a robotic arm manufactured in the US which could be attached to the arm of disabled.
“I want to invent such a robotic arm, but it must be cheaper,” he said.
However, Huy had to spend two years to learn about algorithms to implement his project.
The principle of this product is simple: it uses the movement of toes and feet to control fingers, hands and arms. The device uses sensors to send signals via electromagnetic waves to electronic circuits mounted on the robotic arm.
The special feature of the robotic arm is that it utilizes 3D printing technology to create parts of the cover with high accuracy. Only one original print file can produce multiple print files depending on the type of defects.
According to Huy, the production cost is low, at just VND3 million. There are similar products available in the market, but they are mostly wood-made or plastic arms with no electric circuit.
Meanwhile, modern products controlled by brainwaves are expensive (there is no product priced less than $100,000), while the operation mechanism is complicated.
Huy’s father is a motorbike repairman, while his mother sells fabric at market. The dad’s car and motorbike repair shop is the place where Huy’s dream of becoming an inventor began.
“The motorbike repair shop has many scrap materials and machines. I began making the robotic arm from the existing materials,” Huy said, adding that he is proud that he can help people to improve their quality of life.