This project idea came to me when I was sitting on a bed in a hotel room while on vacation. I thought: "It'd be really neat to have a robotic hand that I can control with my own hand!" Upon returning home, I embarked upon a journey to design and create the project. I hope you enjoy!
Update: First Prize winner in the Instructables 2013 Microcontroller Contest!
The basic components of the hand and glove are the hand itself, the servos, the Arduino, the glove, and the flex sensors. The glove is mounted with flex sensors: variable resistors that change their resistance value when bent. They're attached to one side of a voltage divider with resistors of a constant value on the other side. The Arduino reads the voltage change when the sensors are bent and triggers the servos to move a proportional amount. The servos pull strings that act as tendons, allowing the fingers to move. Here's a video of it in action (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qMtHEOxHDGo):
This guide will show you all the steps required to build your own robotic hand and control glove!
In total, this project will cost about $100-150, depending on where you get the parts. Here is the materials list:
5x MG946R Servos (or equivalent - MG995 or MG996 should work too. I've had a bit of trouble with the range of motion, so servos that support a higher degree of rotation would be better) - I got mine from hobbyking.com, but for a less expensive option I'd go with eBay (they come directly from China, so shipping may take longer).
5x 4.5 inch flex sensors - I got mine here: http://microcontrollershop.com/product_info.php?products_id=3802
1x Arduino Uno or equivalent (they're also much cheaper on eBay)
5x 22k resistors
1x 6.0-7.2V battery (for the servos) - I used this: http://www.all-battery.com/Tenergy7.2V3000mAhRCCarNiMHBatteryPackwithCharger-91103.aspx
1x small breadboard
1x Standard Tamiya battery connector - something like this: http://www.batteryspace.com/Connector/Adaptor-Standard-Female-Tamiya-with-14-AWG-Silicon-wire.aspx
Breadboard jumpers/hookup wire
1x small blank PCB - I used something like this, only square (RadioShack has since removed the original product, but this should work as well): http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-printed-circuit-board/2760170.html
1x glove (I used a right-hand glove - should be sturdy and fit well)
1x 8mm diameter 55mm length bolt
1x 8mm diameter 60mm length bolt
1x 8mm diameter 80mm length bolt
14x 3mm diameter about 20mm length screws
20x 4mm diameter screws (any length between 7mm and 30mm is fine)
Approx. 5 meters of string (should have a high-ish breaking strength) - I used this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YWKPCS/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Super glue (C.A. glue)
Sandpaper (I used ~220 grit) - a Dremel tool with a sanding head would also work
Needle and thread
A power drill
A soldering iron
Access to a 3D printer
...And you're ready to start!