In 2013 we have achieved an unparalleled combination of 40 degrees range of motion with only 50% decrease of guiding stiffness, by utilizing (1) a homebred efficient non-linear computer modelling method, (2) a state-of-the-art generic method of flexure synthesis, and (3) additive manufacturing techniques. Compared to a five flexure cross-hinge, the benchmark for guiding stiffness, the range of motion has been quadrupled. Compared to the butterfly hinge, the benchmark for range of motion, the guiding stiffness has also been quadrupled.
Based on this preliminary result, we expect that development of the method can extend the range of motion for less precise applications to 90 degrees. In the proposed PDEng project we will combine large range of motion and additive manufacturing to develop a hand prosthesis built out of one piece. The fully flexure-based approach minimizes assembly and integrates many functions cutting the cost. In addition the flexure based robotic mechanisms will become better, being more precise and lightweight.
Developing Additive Manufacturing will not be part of the goal of this project. We will make use of the state-of-the-art Additive Manufacturing technology which is extensively available at public or private parties.