Parents of children with upper-extremity limb deficiencies, and clinicians, have long expressed the need for a better body-powered hand. Our objective is to develop an improved hand and activation system for toddlers between the ages of one and four. The primary design goals are: (i) acceptable cosmesis (hand-like appearance), (ii) useful grasp function for play activities, and (iii) minimal requirements for harness force and motion inputs from the child.

The approach has been to explore several hand design strategies in parallel with different methods of harnessing the child’s considerable energies and, where these fall short, provide robust means of amplifying the child’s energy output.

A simple hand called “Easy Feed” shows promise in both grasp capability and suitability to a toddler’s cognitive and physical development. We are investigating coverings for the structure alongside design of the hand’s mechanical linkage. Force and Power augmentation modules in development will assist children with less strength.

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