DIY Lego Exoskeleton Arm

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The DIY exoskeleton arm is constructed out of the Mindstorms EV3 Lego set and allows Dave Voltaggio to move the three mechanical fingers and thumb.

“It’s actually pretty simple,” Voltaggio explained, when showing off the cyborg arm at BrickFair Virginia 2014, where the arm won the Best Mindstorms project “Brickee” award.

“It’s just four motors and then four buttons. And pretty simple programming so every time I touch a button, it causes the motor to close. And I release the button and it goes back and it goes limp.”

It’s called the Mark VI because it’s apparently the sixth Lego arm Voltaggio has created. The Lego arm also comes with a smartphone holder and LED lights. Voltaggio admits it’s a bit of a battery hog and the batteries have to be replaced about once per hour when the arm is in use. This isn’t really a practical device at this stage but it suggest how one might be built.

Lego provides an interesting prototyping kit for DIY transhumanist designers and developers and has been used for robotics and data visualization as well. The constraints of the parts may influence design and therefore product designers and developers will still largely want to move beyond the Lego prototype stage.

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