Design Goals and Processes

For discussion of hand designs.
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Design Goals and Processes

Postby andreas » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:47 am

This stems from a great discussion about design approaches incited by Adam Arabian and I'm moving this out of email and onto a public thread so we can get more folks involved in this important conversation.

To date, we have been designing devices for two users: the fabricator and the recipient. We've largely prioritized issues of printability, assembly, and hardware sourcing in the design itself, which serve the needs of the fabricators, but haven't been having many high-level conversations about what the devices should reasonably be able to for their recipients. The designs haven't actually changed a whole lot in the past 18 months-- they've gotten stronger, easier to build, and more superhero/cyborg-accents, but simple actions such as grasping a cup of water still prove inordinately challenging.

In the interest of really pursuing more of a user-centered design model, let's start making a list of high level usage goals for of our devices. I'd like to get more feedback directly from the recipients in addition to the one I work closely with-- perhaps a survey is in order. But to get things going, let's start building out the list below. Medical professionals, we would really value your insight and experience in the contents and ranking of this list, as well as your thoughts on the design approach. Looking forward, I hope this list of high level goals be used to generate smaller technical feature lists that community designers can build towards asynchronously.

    Ability to grasp small objects precisely
    • Zippers
    • Shoe laces
    • Hems of garments
    • Eating utensils
    • Toothbrush
    • What else?
    Ability to securely hold larger objects for manipulation with other hand
    • Cell phone
    • Bottles
    • Books
    • What else?
    Single hand serviceability
    • Take on/off with one hand
    • Basic service with one hand
    • Adjust fit with one hand
    Easy on the eyes (and ears)
    • Anthropomorphic where possible
    • Lean where possible
    • Not loud and clattering

Jason M Bryant
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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby Jason M Bryant » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:49 am

I'd like to add something. The ability to pick things up of various shapes and sizes. When I try to pick something up, the easiest things to grab are upright cylinders, like water bottles. The hardest things are flat objects, like cell phones. If I pick it up with my other hand and put it in the plastic hand, the hand can hold it. I just can't get it off the table and into the fingers without help from the other hand.

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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby LesHall » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:22 pm

This brings to mind something I've noticed about our R&D meetings: there is little discussion about what recipients actually report in terms of usage practicality. Mostly we try to imagine what a recipient would experience and those among us who have had experience with the recipients explain to people like myself who have zero recipient experience what a recipient might think or feel about some suggestion I make or whatever. It might be a big step forward to have some recipients actually attend a meeting to resolve any such concerns.


Peregrine Hawthorn
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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby Peregrine Hawthorn » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:20 pm

I'll just point out that my Talon does all of this except a zipper, toothbrush, and laces, and that last one is the only one I've wanted it to do. (ok, maybe it's not that lean, but I break anything thinner.)

And yes, it's great at holding things, but picking them up is another story entirely. I usually pick things up with one hand to put it into the other.
Heavy duty hand user, and co-designer of the Talon.

I break hands and then tell you how I did it.

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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby LesHall » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:57 pm


I have not seen you at the last few R&D meetings. We'd love to see you there.


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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby AdamArabian » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:16 am

I'd suggest removing "where possible" for both anthropomorphic geometry and leanness. I think these are just as critical as the other factors and shouldn't be sacrificed. The rest of the list is a dream sheet and those should be too.

I'd also add however:
-Ability to easily modify basic design for "superhero" systems (for kids)
-Interface with commercially available cosmetic gloves (primarily relevant for xradial mods)

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Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby Jfwinston » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:59 pm

I think another valuable design goal should be ability to clean/sanitize. Wouldn't it be useful if the entire hand could be thrown into the dishwasher?

A certified prosthetist met with us last week and explained that she believed sanitization and the interface between device and human (sock, foam) should be main priorities.
Co-lead at e-NABLE Portland, mechanical engineer, and no idea what I'm doing

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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:15 am

Re: Design Goals and Processes

Postby rawand » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:18 am

great to see this useful post...
Graduated from Soran University with First Class Degree with Honours in Computer Science.

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