After building my first 3D printer, I became interested in functional printing - a prosthetics project seemed like the perfect avenue.
What it does
This project allowed me to explore brain-controlled interfaces and EEG data analysis.
The subject wears a commercially available EEG headband and then blinks. EEG data is sent over Bluetooth to a modem connected to an Arduino. The raw EEG data is analysed, and based on wave amplitude and signal quality a blink is registered. Servos on the arm then actuate to carry out a predefined movement.
How I built it
I started with the embedded electronics system, then printed some parts (full credit to InMoov® for the STL files). Finally I researched techniques and algorithms for the code (full credit to PanTech Solutions® for code inspiration, and NeuroSky).
Challenges I ran into
Getting started was the biggest roadblock I faced – at a point, after all the research, I had to start building and writing code. I handled this by breaking it into chunks – I started with the embedded electronics system, then printed some parts (again, full credit to InMoov® for the STL files). I also ran into technical problems with networking between the EEG and the board.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm proud that I solved most of the problems that came my way, and that I saw my project to completion!
What I learned
This project taught me a few things: to respect a schedule, to be flexible, and to always be ready to make mistakes! As cheesy as it sounds, every time I missed a semi-colon, or soldered something poorly, it forced me to improve the quality of my work.
What's next for 3D-Printed EEG-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
Currently, I'm working on adding more commands through varying blink strengths.
Credit to InMoov.fr, PanTech Solutions, and NeuroSky for stl files, programming strategies, and their awesome SDK respectively.