Asee peer logo

Designing Devices to Help the Disabled

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Great Ideas for Projects that Teach Instrumentation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.443.1 - 22.443.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Saeed B. Niku California Polytechnic State University

visit author page

Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly since 1983, author of many papers in robotics, design, engineering eduaction and others, author of two textbooks, 1.) Introduction to Robotics: Analysis, Control, Applications," Second Edition, Joh Wiley and Sons, 2011; and 2.) Creative Design of Products and Systems," John Wiley and Sons, 2009. Two patents on Flexible Fasteners.

visit author page

author page

Ross James Miller

Download Paper |


Designing Devices to Help the DisabledA number of devices have been design and developed to help the disabled individuals. Inone case, a 17-degree-of-freedom finger-spelling hand was designed to helpcommunicate with the blind-deaf individuals. The system can make all the gestures thatare needed to spell letters and numbers. The blind-deaf can read the hand gestures bytouch and understand the words. The person who desires to communicate with theindividual types the words at a terminal. These are converted to a set of signals that aresent to a controller. The controller drives the joint motors and reads the necessaryfeedback until the gesture is made. The hand is completely self-contained and can be heldby the user. The only linkage is an umbilical cord to the computer for communication,which can easily be changed to wireless.Another system developed is an artificial skin, a stretchable, deformable substratepopulated with tens of piezoelectric sensors. A circuit, including multiplexers and acontroller, reads the signals from the piezoelectric sensors sequentially and plots orreports them. These signals may be used for countless purposes, from robotics toprosthetic applications. An immediate application of the skin sensor is in the design ofartificial hands and limbs, helping injured veterans.

Niku, S. B., & Miller, R. J. (2011, June), Designing Devices to Help the Disabled Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17724

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015