My name’s Joel Gibbard and I live in Bristol, UK. I’ve been passionate about robotics from an early age and have always been fascinated by technology. Over the years I’ve cultivated this passion by building various robotic machines that can walk or fly as well as a full scale, rideable self-balancing scooter.
In 2011 I achieved a first class honours degree in Robotics from the University of Plymouth, UK which was in part, owing to my final year project; to design a low-cost prosthetic hand for upper limb amputees. Following this I spent two years honing my engineering skills working with National Instruments working as an Applications Engineer.
I left National Instruments in 2013 to pursue the Open Hand Project. I’m driven purely by my passion for robotics but I get a huge amount of satisfaction by trying to apply it a way that can benefit people. Hopefully the Open Hand Project is just the beginning for me and in the future I would like to explore other innovative ways to help people through robotics.
It takes more than a proof of concept for a new technology to really make a difference. Without taking things any further my work on the robotic hand would be wasted and people wouldn’t benefit from it.
Emerging technologies like 3D printing and great free tools like Upverter, Github and Blender have flourished in the last few years. This has enabled inventors and designers to embark on grand projects like this one, without the need for a workforce and a lot of money.
The Open Hand Project achieved initial funding through a hugely successful crowd-funding campaign with over 1000 extremely generous contributors raising £44,328. This is funding the first year of development which will bring the Dextrus hand forward from a functional prototype to a working product. Once this stage is complete the next phase will be to bring this product to market. At this stage of the project additional funding will be required and investment will be sort from other, more conventional sources. In the mean time, if you would like to get on board with the Open Hand Project by making a donation, please do so via PayPal; there is a “donate here” button on the bottom of the homepage.
National Instruments are sponsoring the Open Hand Project. They are providing invaluable test equipment and software that will speed up development time and enable thorough testing of the mechanical and electronic parts of the hand.
Through Graphical System Design, National Instruments (uk.ni.com) provides engineers and scientists with an integrated software and hardware platform that accelerates the design and implementation of any system that needs measurement and control. This unified platform scales across design, deployment and test, from desktop to embedded systems.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or are interested in participating in the project. I promise to read all of the E-mails but unfortunately I am unable to respond to everyone. At the moment the Open Hand Project is just me so I have to prioritize my time very carefully to ensure the project continues to move forward and unfortunately this sometimes means E-mails will go unanswered.