The Neu-pulator, or the neurally controlled manipulator, is a simple to build robotic arm that responds to the electrical signals in muscles! Developed by HIROLab at Michigan Tech, it is controlled by an Arduino micro-controller that receives signals from a muscle sensor, or electromyograph (EMG). Two EMGs are placed on a person’s arm with a sticky electrode, one on the upper arm and one on the lower arm, and the Neu-pulator replicates the movement when muscles are flexed.
This highly interactive robot can be assembled with screwdrivers and allen wrenches, and the electronics do not require any soldering. An external power supply has two big switches to easily turn it on and off. The arm can also be easily modeled in a CAD (computer aided design) program. The Neu-pulator can be used to play educational games to encourage deeper understanding of how it works.