Review of Construct & Create's Hydraulic Cyborg Hand

By Dr Jennifer Martay PE, Course Leader for Medical Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University

Box Cyborg Hand Comes In
I am interested in Biomechanics and was recently working on a 3D printed robotic hand and arm.
Naturally, when I saw this hydraulic hand, I had to buy it to give it a try!

What did I think about it? In short, it is great! For more details, keep reading!

Contents of Box
This kit is incredibly well-organized. There is a user manual and multiple sheets of parts (don't take the parts out yet!).
The manual is refreshingly clear and easy to read and understand.

Example of User Manual
Each step has a picture, with each piece you need labelled. The labels tell you which sheet and which part on the sheet you need (ie, D8=Sheet D, Part 8).
There are even pictures of common errors to help you navigate tricky assemblies!

Palm Base for Hand
The build makes intuitive sense. You start with the palm. The different parts easily click together. The resulting levers are fun to work with.

Single Finger
Next, you make the first finger, which you repeat with slight variations 3 times. Each finger has pads around the side to make it easier to later pick up objects.

Finger Unit from Above Finger Unit from Side
The 3 fingers are then assembled into the Fingers Unit, seen above. At this point, you can manually move each finger lever independently - looks a bit like a spider!

Hand from Above Hand from Side
The final step was assembling the different units and putting in the hydraulics. I expected the hydraulics to be difficult and messy so put this final step off for a few days.
It was a needless worry, however. Installing the hydraulics was clearly explained and didn't make a mess!

Now the hand was ready to use! Things to note:
-The hand was much larger/longer than I expected! It takes up a lot of space after assembled.
-The palm adjusts to different hand sizes. I needed the hand on its smallest size - my children (3 & 4 years old) can't use it as intended.
-The 4 main fingers were incredibly easy to use, but the thumb is an awkward angle so I have been avoiding using it much.
-I worry my kids will pull the hydraulics out and water/oil will go everywhere. This hasn't happened - yet - but I monitor the kids carefully when they play with it.

All that said, my overall review is that this is an excellent product. It's so easy to put together and fun to play with afterwards.
There are also many potential levels of learning for everyone, 3 years and up.
-I learned more about levers, hydraulics, and biomimicry (comparing the created hand to our human hands).
-The 4 year old learned the basics of hydraulics, practiced using a screwdriver, identified letters and numbers when finding parts, and was exposed to a really fun STEM project.
-The 3 year old learned more about levers.
-Both kids loved experimenting with what they could pick up and how to do this.

This would be a great Christmas present for anyone interested in building things, robotics, the human body. I'll be buying more Construct and Create projects like this!

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