Glove Controlled Robotic Hand - Cheap and Simple Version

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This project is based off of the DIY Robotic Hand instructable located here. Being a poor college student however, I could not afford dishing out ~$500 for a 3D printed hand and another $50 for the servos. I set out to revise a cheaper alternative design for people like myself. Starting with absolutely nothing this project should cost at most $140. I have the links and prices of the exact parts I used laid out in the next step. Anyways, the main idea of the project is that there are five flex sensors wired into an Arduino and sewed into each finger of a glove. The Arduino interprets the change in these flex sensors and moves a corresponding servo motor accordingly. The five servo motors are attached to the five fingers of a plastic toy hand with fishing line, and when a motor moves the finger it is attached to moves as well. A video of the project is located above (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeeiNC_oQpc).

Step 1: Buying the Parts

Here's the list of the exact parts and links I used for this project:

This tutorial assumes you already have access to some basic tools for building projects including:

  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Hookup Wire
  • Heat Shrink
  • Electrical Tape
  • Zipties
  • Superglue
  • Power Drill

Step 2: Making the Glove and Circuit

I'm going to redirect most of the tutorial on creating the circuit to the other instructable here. It is a pretty simple circuit, the sensors run on 5V from the Arduino with 22k resistors going to ground. Just make sure the ground, analog, and resistor leads are all soldered together underneath the board. I color coordinated and wrapped all my wiring with electrical tape as you will have quite a few wires flying around.

You will need to learn how to sew in order to attach the circuit to the glove. I sewed in the four corners of the board to the top of the wrist. You will also need to drill a small hole at the top of each flex sensor so you can sew it into the fingertip. I also sewed across the sensor in three other spots down the finger. The more you secure the sensor, the cleaner the values you will get back through the Arduino, however sewing into the glove is very tedious and time consuming. My advice would be to just sew along the three knuckles in the finger and call it good.

Step 3: Assembling the Hand

This is by far the most tedious and time consuming step of the project. Make sure you have plenty of fishing line, superglue, and zipties before proceeding. Start by supergluing the grey fingertips to each black finger. Then superglue and ziptie each motor in the exact arrangement pictured above. The top right and middle motors both turn counterclockwise, while the rest turn clockwise. Feel free to test your own arrangements but if you follow my layout you shouldn't run into any problems.

Once all of the superglue has hardened you can move onto threading the fishing line. First you will want to tie the line to the last hole in the motor attachment. You will want to make sure the knot you tie can withstand a lot of tension before threading it through the finger. If the knot comes undone after threading through the finger you will have to start over. Once you have a strong knot and plenty of extra slack line, thread the line through the motor's corresponding finger. In my picture, the motors are connected so that the top left goes through the second finger, bottom left through the first finger, middle through the fourth finger, bottom right through the third finger, and top right through the fifth finger. Once threaded, I was unable to create a knot that could slide down the line into the tip of the finger. If you know how to do that, go for it. However, another solution is to bring the line down and wrap it around the top knuckle multiple times before tying it. You will want to make sure there is some tension between the finger and motor when you tie it, so it may take a couple tries to get it right. Once you have all five lines threaded and tied, congrats! You completed the hardest part of the project.

Finally you will want to insert some wire into the female headers of the servo motor wires. Red should be connected to 5V, brown to ground, and orange to a digital output pin. I soldered and heat shrinked all my 5V wire together as well as my ground wire in order to only have one wire for power and ground connected to the breadboard.

Step 4: Completing the Circuit

Run a wire from the 5V and ground on the Arduino to the breadboard. Connect the power and ground from the servo and sensor circuits to their corresponding locations on the breadboard. Now you will want to connect the five analog wires from the sensors to analog pins A0 through A4 on the Arduino. I did this making sure that they were in order (A0 - thumb, A1 - index...and so on). Finally connect the servo signal wires to digital pins 8 through 12 on the Arduino. Again I did this making sure they were in order (8 - thumb, 9 - index...and so on). This should complete the wiring of your circuit.

Finally, write the code for your Arduino. The code is super simple, you should have little trouble following my logic in the attached file. My code is about the bare minimum to get the circuit running, feel free to play around on your own with it to optimize your circuit.

Step 5: Wrapping Up

I hope this tutorial was helpful to you, please leave suggestions down in the comments. This is a fun, relatively easy way to learn more about robotics and I hope you give it a try!

Thanks and good luck!

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    20 Discussions

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    Cuttlayfiiish

    6 months ago

    Howdy, I'm pretty new to all of this stuff and am having a bit of a dificult time soldering. I was wondering if you could put up a pic of the underside of the protoshield. Thanks

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    DraganM15

    10 months ago

    Please, give us a link for the 3d model of this robotic hand.

    Thank you !

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    Shilpa21aromal1689

    1 year ago

    is this same servo u mentioned

    TowerPro SG90 9G micro servo motor arduino / raspberry pi / AVR / ARM / PIC
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    AtharvaI

    2 years ago

    can we use 2.2 inches flex sensor instead of 4.5 inches flex sensors?????

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    Ayush Naik

    3 years ago

    Can you please upload the whole circuit diagram of the project. As it will be very easy to understand.

    This is a great project I like it very much, awesome..i am sure that you will give me the circuit diagram.

    1 reply
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    Ayush NaikAyush Naik

    Reply 2 years ago

    I am not good at creating a circuit, nor know to use fritzing....So i have tried my level best to create one circuit for this instructable. It is so crazy but any body can understand. please if there is any mistake in this circuit then reply...

    Circuit Photo.jpg

    why my servo is not running properly? for the 1st 2 ,3 flex sensor reading it will run but after that the servo will vibrate and stop......plzzz help

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    VikramA2

    3 years ago on Introduction

    for running the servo motors , do i need an external source to power it or can i connect all five motors to the arduino ?

    1 reply
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    njthomaVikramA2

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Normally you shouldn't be powering more than one servo off the Arduino, but these draw very little current and you should be fine without external power. If you want to go by the book though you can use external power.

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    VikramA2

    3 years ago

    For the circuit of this project , I wanted to know , if we should use an ardumoto - motor driver shield , or I can just copy the exact steps of the circuit you have given above , because I just want to be sure that my arduino uno doesn't get short circuited or damaged

    3 replies
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    njthomaVikramA2

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    If you use the motors I have linked, you won't have any issues with damaging the board. No need for the shield.

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    VikramA2njthoma

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction


    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KA38ZXG/ref=pd_aw_sbs_t_1?refRID=1RP8FTCFSN071M8VGH2K

    I bought these motors , it's the same motor but I think different brand .
    It should be okay right ?

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    njthomaVikramA2

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Any size fishing line will work as long as you can thread and tie it tight.

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    amberrayh

    3 years ago on Introduction

    This looks like a cool project. Congratulations on your first Instructable! I hope we see more from you in the future!