Mar 10, 2018 | By Benedict

European engineering collective Hackerloop has built a 3D printed prosthetic Nerf gun that fires projectiles in response to the user’s muscle contractions. The modified Swarmfire Nerf uses EMG sensors and 3D printed parts.

Engineering collective Hackerloop might have just created the most outrageous prosthetic arm in history. While we’ve seen some brilliantly overt 3D printable prosthetics over the years, with wild designs made to appeal to creative kids, a bionic arm that fires Nerf projectiles is surely up there with the best of them.

The collective, based in Berlin and Paris, decided to create the DIY prosthetic after realizing they had a pretty unfair advantage in their regular Nerf battles: their adversary only had one hand. To level the playing field, they used 3D printing, electronics, and EMG sensors to build a modified arm-gun hybrid that could be fired without having to pull a trigger.

The amazing Nerf prosthesis, a reconstructed Swarmfire Nerf gun, can be fired by simply contracting forearm muscles, which means people with a missing hand—like Hackerloop’s friend and Nerf opponent Nicolas Huchet—can battle as well as anyone else.

“Electromyography is a great way to make the body communicate with hardware,” says Hackerloop’s Valentin Squirelo. “We used it to detect electrical impulses and translated them into instructions for our gun. You could think of a thousand other uses.”

The engineering collective admits that this isn’t the most practical device for those with a disability, but argues that not everything needs to be serious to be beneficial.

“You could think it’s not the first problem to solve for people with disabilities,” Squirelo says, “but in fact being able to have fun with your friends with these wonderful toys is also a real game-changer.”

(Images: Hackerloop

To build the arm blaster, three electrodes had to be placed on different areas of Huchet’s arm, with different inputs allowing it to detect variations in muscular activity. The voltage amplitude is transmitted to the sensor, and then to the Arduino-like microcontroller, and the Arduino then decides if the signal has reached a certain threshold considered to be a “fire signal.”

A fire signal is then transmitted to the modified Swarmfire Nerf gun, modified with 3D printed sheath and casing, then bang! Off goes the foam dart.

At the moment, it's not clear if Hackerloop is sharing the schematics and STL files for the Nerf prosthetic, but it would be fantastic if this became an open source project.

Two years ago, maker Jeremy Chang turned a Nerf gun into a 3D printed Halo 5 MA5D assault rifle. Less accessible, but still very cool. Perhaps somebody could merge the two projects?



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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Joey Brooks wrote at 3/17/2018 12:37:02 AM:

That's sorta cool, but stupid at the same time.

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