December 4, 2001
Bioengineering students from the Rice University George R. Brown School of Engineering Design developed a robotic arm to help a fellow teenager overcome his physical limitations.
Seventeen-year-old Dee Faught has brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta), which makes it challenging to perform everyday tasks without risking injury.
The solution the engineering students came up with is manipulated using a Playstation controller. The arm allows Faught to reach and grasp items he normally couldn’t due to his condition. The arm is fitted to his motorized wheelchair, and acts as a sort of remote-control crane.
The R-ARM won the school’s Design Showcase and Competition last year. Faught’s doctor at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston originally suggested the project to Rice University bioengineering professor Ann Saterbak.
The R-ARM cost about $800 to make. The students are applying for a grant to further develop the arm, and potentially drive down the costs even more.