An engineering student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named Max Sheperd built a prosthetic arm entirely made out of Legos. If his career as an engineer doesn’t work out, he could always apply for a job as Lego Master Builder (yes, that’s a real thing). But something tells he’ll do just fine in the engineering world. His project was featured on CNET, PC World, Gizmodo, and Popular Science, and his YouTube video has over 1/4 million views.
The goal of his project was to make a prosthetic arm entirely out of Legos that mimicked the full range of motion of a human arm and hand. He built the hand out of Lego pneumatics, while he built the wrist and elbow out of Lego motors that allow it to move just like a human arm. The controller was built with a system of switches and joysticks. Sheperd also built a 4-motor air compressor out of Legos to power the arm.
The video is pretty amazing. The hand really does move like a human hand. Each finger can be individually controlled, has joints, and can move with the same motions as a normal hand. It can even grip a water bottle and pour a drink. The wrist can even move and twist in circles. At the end of the video, Sheperd even throws in a fist bump with the robotic arm for good measure.