Creating a 3D Printed Myoelectric Prosthetic Hand suitable for India

  • Posted on: 28 March 2016
  • By: ashok

Earlier this evening, I gave a talk at Jaipur on The Challenge of Creating a 3D Printed Myoelectric Prosthetic Hand that is suitable for India.

The Invitation Card

You are cordially invited to an interactive talk by Ashok Mathur on Plan to Fail: The Challenge of Creating a 3D Printed Myoelectric Prosthetic Hand that is suitable for India.

The session shares the story and the process of how an idea, a desire to do good and a challenge transformed into creation of a team, acquiring of skills, search for solutions and finally the successful creation of a customisable 3D printed myoelectric (sensors picking information from muscle movement) prosthetic hand that is suitable for at the shoulder' amputees (thresher accidents are the main reasons for hand amputations in India). At the same time the production cost has been brought down from 3.75 lac to 10,000 rupees.

This session will be useful to businessmen, entrepreneurs, managers, doctors, designers, scientists, engineers, IT people, non profit workers, basically anyone who is planning on creating anything (and we hope that is everyone).

Paper mosaics

  • Posted on: 20 February 2016
  • By: ashok

During the mid-1980s I lived in a large metropolitan city near the sea. Returning home from dinner with family and friends, I would often find myself driving under big city lights along the promenade facing the sea .

One weekend I took a holiday at a nearby hillside resort that looked down on a river snaking through flooded rice fields and glinting in the sunlight.

Back from my holiday, I created paper mosaics that attempted to capture the mood evoked by these two sharply contrasting vistas.

A paper mosaic is composed of hundreds of paper snips individually glued down on a large expanse of stiff paper. Smaller snippets can be layered on top of larger ones to create depth. Not covering the canvas with paper creates negative space that can just as powerful.

Myoelectric Arm

  • Posted on: 13 January 2016
  • By: ashok

The Myoelectric Arm Project

A project at Vigyan Ashram, Pune aims to set up capabilities in India such that myoelectric hands in the price band of ₹10,000 to ₹30,000 are available for fitting to those in need. At a later stage the project would work with other institutions such that a few engineering colleges have centers for Prosthetics and Exoskeletons for further innovation. The world is in a ferment in these two areas. A lot of development is taking place with implications for public health and military and with many Indian scientists working abroad in these areas.

The innovation involved

  1. 3D printing with Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) / Polylactic acid (PLA) and flexible filaments
  2. Myoelectric sensors
  3. Stepper motors, Servo motors and DC motors with continuously variable transmission (CVTs) to power the myoelectric arms
  4. Value Engineering to reduce the cost from ₹3,75,000 to ₹10,000 per item

Musings on the conservation of energy

  • Posted on: 28 November 2015
  • By: ashok

Musings are not meant to provide answers. They are meant for stretching thinking muscles.

A simple formulation of law of conservation of energy can be as under:

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another or transferred from one object to another.

A slightly more complex version of this law adds a qualifier:

543 models

  • Posted on: 15 November 2015
  • By: ashok

What I call a 543 model is correctly called a rhombicosidodecahedron. It is often abbreviated as RID.

As prior to thinking about this I had taught the students of Vigyan Ashram how to build a big lantern based on only squares and equilateral triangles, it was logical to call this shape based on pentagons, squares and equilateral triangles as 543 reflecting the number of sides of the shapes inside it. The previous shape is then called 43. Here are two pictures.

Renewable Energy – A Broad Outline of One year Self Study

  • Posted on: 28 October 2015
  • By: ashok

PART A: Introduction

  • Renewable Energy
    • Lack of a Rigid Definition
    • Can energy be consumed?
    • Law of conservation of mass and energy
    • Second law of Thermodynamics or entropy
  • Critical Thinking – the most important skill to acquire.
    • Critical Reading Skills
    • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Critical Writing Skills
    • Theory of Knowledge -limited exposure
  • Is Nuclear energy a renewable energy?
    • Opposing views

A Solar Bakery in Haiti

  • Posted on: 27 October 2015
  • By: ashok

These are the first clips from Lorin Symington's quest to establish the first solar fire powered bakery in Haiti.

With fuel costs on the rise in Haiti, baked goods are becoming more and more expensive. The team at is pioneering a new sustainable energy based business model that they hope will spread first in Haiti, then around the world.

3D Printing and Prosthetics

  • Posted on: 7 September 2015
  • By: ashok

Introduction to Prosthetics and their manufacture

Prosthetics are parts that fit into a human body to complete a function that has been lost/impaired. Ears cannot hear clearly; eyes have difficulty in seeing clearly; limbs have been cut off or were never present. Cochlear implants in the ear canal improve hearing; lenses are inserted into the retina to improve eyesight; artificial limbs aid walking and functioning of hands.