Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Saeed Niku


Because communication has always been difficult for people who are deaf-blind, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute (SKERI), in conjunction with the California Polytechnic State University Mechanical Engineering department, has commissioned the design, construction, testing, and programming of a robotic hand capable of performing basic fingerspelling to help bridge the communication gap. The hand parts were modeled using SolidWorks and fabricated using an Objet rapid prototyper. Its fingers are actuated by 11 Maxon motors, and its wrist is actuated by 2 Hitec servo motors. The motors are controlled by Texas Instruments L293D motor driver chips, ATtiny2313 slave microcontroller chips programmed to act as motor controllers, and a master ATmega644p microcontroller. The master controller communicates with a computer over a USB cable to receive sentences typed by a sighted user. The master controller then translates each letter into its corresponding hand gesture in the American Manual Alphabet and instructs each motor controller to move each finger joint into the proper position.