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Engineering the brain for affordable prosthetic bionic hands

Internship abroad paved Hani’s way for a career in tech

Describing the essence of her experience presenting her team's research project to the Sultan of Brunei as living the Malay proverb, "Jauh perjalanan luas pemandangan" (the further you travel, the greater the knowledge you will earn), Nor Hani Nabila Kamarruzaman, 22, a Bachelor in Information Technology (Hons) is on a mission.


photo6195229603241503013 (1).jpgIn the zeal to power a social cause, Hani says, her team's objective is to kit out those unfortunate with affordable prosthetic hands. While in previous years this was a remote cause with modern prosthetics costing tens of thousands of Ringgit, it is now being made possible with the emergence of new technologies.


Hani was an exchange student at the Universiti Teknologi Brunei. After arriving there for her seven month internship, she was assigned to the research team that's developing a prosthetic hand prototype for trans radial amputees.


To get a sense of how technology can offer cost-defying solutions for real social impact, Hani says, any objective can be met if you know what needs to be solved says Hani.


Apart from 3D printing parts for the prototype prosthetic hand, Hani was deeply involved in engineering a circuitry board for the prosthetic hand's movements. And the biggest surprise came when she was tasked to present the research team's project to the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien on the 18th of February 2019 at University Brunei Darussalam during His Majesty's visit to the university.


At the moment, the battery powered prosthetic arm was able to perform four major functions for 15 minutes without a glitch. Since the project, Hani says she has gained a passion for research.


What's interesting about the battery powered prosthetic limb is that it is connected via an infrared sensor wrapped around an amputee's hand able to carry out various tasks. The sensor detects muscle contraction and sends signal to three servo motors to mimic human hands' motion.


photo6192943310545463583 (2).jpgBeing the most articulate among the group, she relished the challenge. After the visit, the picture of Hani demonstrating the inner workings of the prototype to the Sultan of Brunei has been placed on the wall of Brunei's famed Nurul Iman Palace walkway.


Next, Hani will lead a UTP's research team that will design a lightweight circuit board for prosthetic hands. A collaboration with an industry partner is currently being ironed out to further the research project.


After getting support from Yayasan Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Hani is one of thousands YUTP recipients who has contributed to making real social impact. Her enterprising knowledge in technology has been a boon to her learning curve, preparing her to be a well-rounded global citizen with a big heart.


Indeed, Hani is another prime example of UTP's profound career connected learning and industry collaboration. From the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.


As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.