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Nick Thoma's Glove-Controlled Robotic Hand

Gareth Halfacree

There's a misconception that getting started in robotics has to be complex and expensive, and while there are plenty of ways to spend a fortune on the hobby it's not necessary. We've previously mentioned the MeArm by our friend and fellow Maker Belter Ben Gray, who created a fully-functional robot arm from a single A4 sheet of laser-cut acrylic, but for those whose tastes run a little more to the Terminator side of the table Nick Thoma's creation is worth a look. While the bill of materials for his Instructable is significantly higher than the MeArm, sitting at around $140, his creation offers the ability to track the user's hand movements and mimic them on a toy hand powered by servo 'muscles' and fishing line 'tendons.' The most expensive part of the project is the flex sensors, fitted to a cheap glove to track the user's finger movements; anyone looking to build a simple robot hand for indirect control should find the cost dropping considerably. The brain of the system is an Arduino Uno, once again proving its suitability for robotics projects as Nick's video demonstration clearly shows.

The main idea of the project is that there are five flex sensors wired into an Arduino and sewed into each finger of a glove. The Arduino interprets the change in these flex sensors and moves a corresponding servo motor accordingly. The five servo motors are attached to the five fingers of a plastic toy hand with fishing line, and when a motor moves the finger it is attached to moves as well.

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