Build your own Assistive Robotic Arm


Bellow are the instructions to build an assistive device that can be controlled by muscle signals. It was designed to increase the chances of rehabilitation and to provide my daughter greater use of her arm. Here is the back story

  • These instructions will for the moment only take you as far as building a device that will either use a singular muscle sensor (that will really only work if you have a really strong muscle) or a device that uses a potentiometer (a radio-dial-like knob) that can be used to control the device. There are still three key challenges we are overcoming and if you can help us please do so! We should have overcome those challenges within the next 6 months (Mid to Late 2017). 

  • These instructions could theoretically be used to create a device for any limb, however, the below instructions are for a left arm and you would need to make necessary changes in the design to make it work for other use cases. I'll try document those considerations below in the instructions. 
  Disclaimer: My daughter and I don't know what we are doing, we are not experts in this field and have no medical training! All information, thought, and code described here is intended for informational and educational purposes only. This site makes no attempt at HIPAA privacy compliance. Use of code is without warranty or support of any kind. Please review the LICENSE found within each repository for further details. Use at your own risk, and do not use the information or code to make medical decisions.



 Step 1: Understanding the problem
  • This is where you will scope out your project, figure out your specific requirements and research possible solutions.
Step 1
 Step 2: Planning the build 
  • This is where you will find a list of all the components and equipment you will need for this project and information on what they're used for.
Step 2
 Step 3: Taking measurements, designing 3D printed brace
  • This is where you will take measurements of the limb you are designing the device for and amending the design as needed.
  Step 3
 Step 4: 3D Printing and molding the brace
  • This is where you will print out the design and mold it to fit. We'll be discussing different approaches to printing and molding. 
  Step 4
 Step 5: Wiring Arduino, actuator, muscle sensor or potentiometer
  • This is where we will wire up the components and discuss the different approaches you can take here. 
Step 5
 Step 6: Programming Arduino
  • This is where we will program and load the Arduino with the appropriate code.
 Step 7: Mounting actuator, potentiometer, and sensor placement
  • This is where we will mount the actuator to the arm brace and discussing the muscle sensor and potentiometer.
  Step 7
 Step 8: Putting it all together 
  • This is where we will be putting it all together, testing the system and discussing ways to make things easier to manage.
  Step 8