Autodesk and Social Hardware design low-cost, lightweight prosthetic wrist

Autodesk and Social Hardware design low-cost, lightweight prosthetic wrist
(L-R) Cameron Norris and Abhit Kumar, Co-Founders of Social Hardware  |  Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Autodesk
14 Oct, 2019

Indian startup Social Hardware has developed a modular assistive device connector in collaboration with American software engineering giant Autodesk. 

The device works as a prosthetic replacement for the wrist. Autodesk helped the Social hardware team to apply generative design to the prosthetic.

The Avocado Wrist Connector helps reduce weight and ensure strength and durability, which are issues often faced with a single prosthetic hand and socket devices. Autodesk said the generative design has helped Social Hardware to decrease the weight of the connector from 300g to just 96g.

The device was showcased at Autodesk’s Design Night on October 9 in Hyderabad. Volkswagen, Under Armour and General Motors also participated in the event.

Generative design, a term coined by Autodesk, is a design exploration process that requires engineers to input criteria such as performance, spatial requirements, manufacturing methods and cost constraints. The method utilises artificial intelligence and the cloud to create thousands of design options by defining the different parameters.

The device can be used in different situations and users can quickly switch between tools like those used in agriculture or construction. Social Hardware says most amputations in low-income rural areas occur due to road, railways and agricultural accidents. The low-cost device can help amputees return to work faster and is in contrast to the expensive devices that are too fragile for fieldwork.

"The development of assistive devices includes many rounds of ideation and a lot of prototyping and testing for engineering design,” said Abhit Kumar, co-founder, Social Hardware.

The company is getting the connector ready to meet the needs of amputees across the world, Kumar said.

"The Avocado Wrist Connector has the potential to improve the lives of over half a million upper limb amputees in India, providing equal opportunity to people with disabilities," said Haresh Khoobchandani, vice president of Asia Pacific at Autodesk. 

The product is currently in its testing stage and is being made available to hobbyists, students, and education institutions to gather more feedback. The company has also given the device to a few select rehabilitation centres.