TN25 gets to grips with biomechatronics

From design to man­u­fac­ture, the bio­me­chan­i­cal hand pro­to­typed at UTC is the con­crete expres­sion of the new TN25 CC project, at the end of the Inte­grat­ed Mechan­i­cal Design course (bac+5), for an exper­i­men­tal and mecha­tron­ic imple­men­ta­tion of the skills acquired in var­i­ous courses.

Repro­duc­ing the func­tion­al­i­ties of a hand and its com­plex sys­tem of move­ments using mecha­tron­ics — a syn­er­gis­tic and sys­temic com­bi­na­tion of mechan­ics, elec­tron­ics, auto­mat­ic con­trol and infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy — is the con­fronta­tion with a real case in a con­strained envi­ron­ment under­tak­en dur­ing a semes­ter (from Sep­tem­ber to Jan­u­ary) by two groups of sev­en stu­dents super­vised by sev­en research sci­en­tists and engi­neers from UTC* spe­cial­is­ing in mechan­ics, elec­tron­ics, man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems, sen­sors, sig­nal pro­cess­ing and con­trol. “This is the first time that we have offered this CC course, which is linked to tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ments and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of new needs and skills acqui­si­tion by the com­pa­nies with which we have part­ner­ships,» stress­es Lau­rent Petit, lec­tur­er at the UTC, who super­vised the project with Hani Al-Haj­jar, also a lec­tur­er at UTC. The pro­to­typ­ing and exper­i­men­tal aspects char­ac­terise this CC, which is an exten­sion of the work car­ried out by the lec­tur­er-research sci­en­tists on the study of micro-mecha­tron­ic and micro-robot­ic sys­tems. This implies real inter­ac­tions. The aim was to inter­est stu­dents in the design of com­plex sys­tems and to make them aware of the inte­gra­tion of func­tions in a col­lab­o­ra­tive and exper­i­men­tal implementation».

From simulation to application

The bio­me­chan­i­cal hand was an imposed chal­lenge that required «reflec­tion on the func­tion­al com­plex­i­ty of a hand and its move­ments», explains Hani Al-Haj­jar. The two groups came up with two dif­fer­ent solu­tions, one of which incor­po­rat­ed more actu­a­tors in order to trans­late ges­tures more accu­rate­ly. “The chal­lenge was to accom­mo­date a mul­ti­tude of com­po­nents in a small space. How do you arrange them so that they don’t affect the func­tion to be per­formed? How do you man­age the con­nec­tions so that they don’t inter­fere with move­ment? How do you inte­grate tem­per­a­ture and pres­sure sen­sors at the fin­ger­tips to detect and squeeze an object and iden­ti­fy the pres­ence of a heat source to pre­vent degra­da­tion? Pro­duc­ing a pro­to­type means under­stand­ing sit­u­a­tions and aspects that can­not be sim­u­lat­ed, man­ag­ing a project in real time and review­ing the design to meet require­ments. «We weren’t look­ing for inno­va­tion, but for a way to take into account the inte­gra­tion of tech­nolo­gies and func­tions, to become aware of the fea­si­bil­i­ty of the project with­in a giv­en time­frame, with the resources avail­able, in par­tic­u­lar the 3D print­er specif­i­cal­ly acquired by the UTC to man­u­fac­ture the parts that the stu­dents would need. That’s what our teach­ing method is all about», explains Hani Al-Haj­jar. A sec­ond ses­sion of the UV TN25 is planned for the start of the new aca­d­e­m­ic year, espe­cial­ly as the enthu­si­asm of the stu­dents for the appli­ca­tion of their skills is fuelling the prospects. The bio­me­chan­i­cal hand could be used in oth­er cours­es as a case study for sys­tems design and simulation.

* includ­ing Muneeb Khan, research engi­neer in charge of the micro­mechatron­ics plat­form at UTC’s Rober­val lab­o­ra­to­ry, Erwan Dupont, lec­tur­er-research sci­en­tist in the Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing depart­ment and work­ing at UTC’s Rober­val lab­o­ra­to­ry, Chris­tine Prelle, pro­fes­sor in Mechan­i­cal Sys­tems Engi­neer­ing at UTC’s Rober­val lab­o­ra­to­ry, Nico­las Piton, head of the UTC Fablab and Frédéric Lamar­que, Direc­tor of Research, UTC.

Le magazine

Avril 2024 - N°62

Faire face aux enjeux environnementaux

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