Two Feet of Snow Can't Stop MIT Momentum

Mary Guiden, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at University of Washington, Seattle

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

This creed from the United States Postal Service is fitting for the students who recently participated in MIT Momentum, a design class for first and second year students sponsored by the Office of Minority Education. Boston’s recent Snowmaggedon caused a slight change-up in the Momentum schedule, but the engineering competition took place nevertheless on Friday, January 30.

MIT Momentum programEight teams of MIT undergraduates worked over the course of four weeks in January to develop an EMG-controlled hand and arm that could serve coffee, write an invitation, dial a rotary phone, serve food and set the table. The theme, as you might guess, was organizing a dinner party. Each team had a $500 budget to purchase extra EMG components or materials to build the robotic limb.

EMG, or electromyogram, records electrical activity produced by muscles. The electrical activity can then be transmitted to a device. In this case, the hand and arm move based on the electrical signals...

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