Sheffield student gives a helping hand with a robotic arm

Lucy, Ozoegwu is the only UK student to work on a global project with a robot arm.
Lucy, Ozoegwu is the only UK student to work on a global project with a robot arm.

a ROBOT arm will help a Sheffield student transform the lives of people with restricted mobility.

The £13,000 arm, modelled on an elephant’s trunk, is being used by Sheffield Hallam University PhD student Lucy Ozoegwu in a global project.

Her work will also help the student to complete a doctorate in industrial automation and robotics - and help people with limited mobility to feed themselves.

Nigerian Lucy, aged 30, said: “We plan to investigate and develop the capability of the Robotino XT as an autonomous self-adapting machine, where the robot will learn from its own experience, without being restricted to pre-conceived routines.

“It should also be able to adapt the learning to solving engineering problems.

“The initial problem we aim to solve is that of assistive feeding for people with limited movements in their arms who cannot feed independently.

“It can then be easily transferable to other tasks due to the robot’s autonomous and self-adapting behaviour.”

Lucy is the only UK student to work on the project with German manufacturers Festo.

The project will also include youngsters from Sheffield’s University Technical College carrying out roles as research assistants, under her supervision.

Andrew Cropley, chair of the UTC Sheffield Academy Trust, said: “This is a fantastic collaboration, bringing together Sheffield Hallam and the UTC in a project led by a multi-national business which has global possibilities. Only a handful of institutions have the opportunity to work on this - it will be a fantastic addition to the UTC’s offer.”