Engineering Design Projects (ES 100), the capstone course at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, challenges seniors to engineer a creative solution to a real-world problem.
Improving the Density and Accuracy of a Force Sensor Array for Industrial Applications
Simone Braunstein, S.B. ’20, mechanical engineering
Existing industrial grasping tools have difficulty successfully grasping and carrying groups of small items or objects with complex geometries. For her project, Braunstein focused on one method of improving grasping tools: the incorporation of haptic feedback into the contact points on the tools. She identified smaller sensors and incorporated them into a printed circuit board to increase the spatial density and force accuracy capabilities of an existing tool called the i-HY hand, developed in the lab of Robert Howe, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering. The new array Braunstein described increased the i-HY hand’s sensor density by a factor of three and improve the device’s localization by a factor of 10 to 15. Braunstein chose this project because she wanted to expand her expertise in the area of industrial grippers, and develop a better understanding of sensor technology. As a mechanical engineer by training, she learned a great deal about the electrical engineering tools and design practice she used in this project.
“First and foremost, participating in ES 100 really showed me the strength of the engineering community at Harvard. The Class of 2020 is incredibly lucky to work together in an extremely supportive and encouraging environment, and none of that would have been possible without the administration and the ES 100 staff members who guided us over the course of the year,” she said. “I also learned a great deal from my advisor, Professor Howe, and my graduate advisor, Zixi Liu. Both of them took every opportunity to teach and help me, and I hope that someday I have the same opportunity to help other young engineers as they begin their careers based off the wonderful example my advisors set.”
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