Nadia Hernandez Rios and Jose Alfredo Rodriguez are two young students in the sixth semester of the Mechatronics Engineering program at Campus Saltillo, Universidad del Valle de México. The friends and classmates are working together to overcome challenges and make their dreams come true. One of their dreams was to design a prosthesis (hand or foot) that could help people determine the temperature of an object by the color of the prosthesis.
Nadia and José Alfredo’s idea launched the "Temperature Detector" project. They came up with the idea after visiting a Teleton Children's Rehabilitation Center in Saltillo and seeing the challenge of children who lack hands to maneuver objects. "At this time, the prosthesis is focused on hands but, the prototype material can be used for feet too, to tell if the surface is hot or cold," they shared.
The UVM students explained that the prosthesis works with three temperature sensors and a microcontroller that takes the average temperature of the three sensors, and sends it to a processor that displays the color they have from the three sensors to provide greater accuracy. "How do people who use prostheses know how if a container or surface is hot or cold? We have a range of ten colors, each color is assigned ten degrees of temperature, we start with blue from 0 to 10 degrees, then 10 to 20 degrees is green, then pink, then purple and so on is changing color, we would give them the printed scale of values to differentiate to know what's hot or cold."
The prosthesis is 40 centimeters (approximately 16 inches) long; however, Nadia and José Alfredo are working to reduce the size to that of a real hand. "The idea is to adjust the prosthesis to any type of person. The materials we use are recycled, particularly from metal and resin," they said.
Six months ago, when Nadia and José Alfredo began to work on this project, they were looking to push the boundaries on existing prostheses. "A prosthesis needs to replace a body part that is lost by either an amputation or does not exist due to birth defects, and fulfill the same functions as the missing part, like legs or artificial dentures. It is also important for aesthetic purposes that it look right and has natural features, like being able to detect hot and cold. When someone loses a limb, they lose sensitivity of the affected part, and our goal is to recover all the lost sensations and not just the mechanical part," commented the talented UVM students.
The feedback that Nadia and Jose Alfredo have received has been very positive, "We recently attended the Minirobótica event at UVM Campus Villahermosa to participate in the event, there, a person saw our work, the person did not have a leg, thanked us a lot for our work with this type of prosthesis that can restore various sensations for people that are often written off", they shared.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.