As students in mechatronics engineering, Ahmed, Tarek and Ammar wanted to graduate having made a difference to society so they came together to invent a robotic arm that helps people with motor disabilities of the upper limbs.
Data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that 3.5 per cent of people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip suffer from difficulty using their hands, so the men sought to help alleviate this.
They faced many limitations in their journey, not least as a result of the ongoing Israeli siege on the enclave which meant that many of the electronic components needed to design and operate the artificial limb were unavailable in the local market.
Developing a plan of action, they began designing the prosthesis using engineering software and printing it using 3D technology. They then purchased and prepared the electronic parts necessary for the project. Electronic sensors needed for the project were particularly difficult to source, these EMG type sensors pick-up the electrical signals emanating from the brain to the amputated limb and convert them into commands to move the prosthesis.
Their inability to locate the EMG sensors stifled the project, so Ammar, Tarek and Ahmed changed their plan for the end project from an artificial limb to a mechanical hand controlled by wireless gestures. They created a robotic hand and a control glove that transmits movements to the prosthetic, which repeats these manoeuvers.
The graduates now say they have fulfilled both their planned outcomes, they have created a prosthetic that operates using wireless technology, but should they be able to source the necessary sensors, this can be converted to a limb which can pick up brain signals and operate accordingly. Technology that could improve the standard of life so many in the occupied Gaza Strip.