Mumbai: Saboo Siddik college students invent electronic arm

Jul 03, 2017, 21:05 IST | Pallavi Smart

Farooq Sameer, Saad Patel and Humza Shaikh who have developed the prosthetic arm
Farooq Sameer, Saad Patel and Humza Shaikh who have developed the prosthetic arm 

A group of students from Saboo Siddik College of Engineering has been chosen as one of the finalists at the prestigious Texas Instruments India Innovation Challenge design contest for coming up with a new technology for prosthetic arms that employs the 3-D printing method to allow more flexibility to user by copying muscle movements.

The group comprises students from mechanical, electronic and computer engineering departments. The trio — Humza Shaikh, Farooq Sameer and Saad Patel -- had been working on this project for more than a year. Now that the prototype is ready, they are working on reducing the project’s production cost.

Affordable for all
Shaikh said their objective was to make electronic prosthetic arms affordable in the country.

"In India, electronic prosthetic arms are not manufactured at all. Only mechanical arms are available to the masses, which offer limited movement -- mostly, the action to grip something. An electronic hand offers a lot more flexibility and open scope for complex finger movements. We have based our innovation on a technique called ‘electromyography’, which helps capture complex muscle movements," he added.

Explaining the concept, Shaikh said, "Even when you are moving the index finger, there’s a lot of muscular activity happening inside. We have captured these muscular movements and pulses and replicated them through 3-D printing."

Pricey prosthetic
However, the electronic arms come at a huge price at the moment. While mechanical arms cost around R12,000 in India, the price of an electronic arm ranges between Rs1.5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh on the international market.

"Our first working prototype cost over Rs 50,000. But that’s because we had to import the raw parts. If demand for the product increases, the price of production can come down drastically," said Shaikh.

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