BBD — The Picker

This is one of my projects at TMOT — I’m going to be making projects and working with them to design a curriculum for their Better By Design program — a course to build design thinking skills in children and inspire them to be innovators.

I set out to build a hand — a pick up mechanism, and the first thought I had was to somehow mimic the human hand.

I googled for this sort of mechanism, and then found an instructable for a mechanical hand, with the mission to teach project-based engineering.

Here’s what I set out to build -

I didn’t get pictures of all the steps I followed, but I’ll talk about them anyway.

The base of the mechanism was that there was one fixed joint(hinge), and there were two others which could move freely, but the fingers were attached at inverse angles to the fingers which were attached to the fixed joint.

The fingers would try to squeeze whatever was between them, when the fingers which could move freely were pulled.

The author used wooden cubes to attach the fingers at an angle, while still having a strong bond.

I did the same, but instead of using wooden cubes, I used lego.

Because I love lego.

It was very easy from here on, I attached a popsicle stick to make sure the freely moving fingers would move together, and attached lines of 4 popsicle sticks overlapping, to make a handle.

Turns out popsicle sticks don’t have a great grip, and I didn’t get the right angles, so I didn’t have much success in picking up stuff. But, it was interesting to build the mechansim anyway.

Here’s a video of it in action —

I love making things, it doesn’t matter if the thing is virtual zeros and ones, or physical cardboard and popsicle sticks.