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USM Engineering Students Build Low-Cost Prosthetic Arm Prototypes

The pandemic may have required a shift to remote learning over the summer, but that didn’t stop a group of USM mechanical engineering students from solving an urgent, real-world problem: how to make a fully functional, prosthetic arm that can operate in hot and humid climates — all for under $110 per unit.

In this video, Asheesh Lanba, USM assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and undergraduate electrical engineering major Adam Robert of Lisbon, Maine, explain how they modified several open-source designs and — using 3-D printers in the Maker Innovation Studio on USM’s Portland Campus — made multiple functional prototypes for donation by the Portland Rotary Club.

The project, says Professor Lanba, required the USM students to overcome the challenges of engineering design, electrical engineering, materials analysis, and computer modeling.

“For students to actually deliver not only a complete design prototype but also functioning prototypes with all of the electronic and mechanical actuation, that was above and beyond the call of duty,” Lanba said.

*As you watch, please keep in mind that this video was filmed prior the System’s issuance of guidance on acceptable face coverings. USM students, faculty, and staff now wear acceptable face coverings while on campus.

Video by USM Multimedia Producer Zach Boyce