Brittle Bones

r.ARM: Robotic Assistive Reaching Mechanism


Member profile details

Membership level
2013-2014 Team
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Team Name
Brittle Bones
Project Title
r.ARM: Robotic Assistive Reaching Mechanism
Design Challenge
In the Fall of 2011, our engineering team, consisting of Nimish Mittal, Sergio Gonzalez, and Matthew Nojoomi, was approached by Dr. Gloria Gogola of Shriners Hospital. She identified a patient, D, a 16 year old boy who suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). OI is a genetic disorder that causes type-1 collagen deficiency, causing D to have brittle bones, stunted growth, and reduced strength.

D is approximately 2.5 feet in height, has a reaching radius of 1 foot from his torso. Additionally he can lift a maximum of 3.6 pounds, and has a maximum hand grip force of 2.2 pounds. As a result of these limitations, he spends most of his time confined to a wheelchair, the Permobil k450, and must rely on the help of others to perform most basic everyday functions. However, D would like to gain more independence by having the ability to reach things himself. While current reaching and gripping aids do exist, they do not accommodate D’s grip strength and lifting capabilities. It is therefore our team’s goal to design an improved reaching device with a simple user interface that would allow him to improve his current reaching abilities.
Design Summary
Our solution, the R-ARM, is a specialized robotic arm that attaches to D’s wheelchair and allows him to grab heavier objects at greater distances, extending his capabilities further than currently possible. The R-ARM is a fully functional device that aims not only to retrieve household items, but also to ultimately help D gain independence and achieve an overall higher quality of life.

This project was sponsored by Sally L. Wood and John Robert Treichler. The design work for this project was supported by the resources of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.
OEDK, Shriners Hospital, Sally L. Wood and John Robert Treichler
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  • Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Dr. Ann Saterbak
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • BIOE
Award(s) and Recognition
Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Competition: Judges and Professors Choice
Brown School of Engineering Design Showcaseand Poster Competition: Excellence in Engineering 5th Annual Rice Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition: 1st Place

Member photo albums (1 Album)

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


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