Bionic Hand – Building a bionic hand

Brief description:

In this activity, pupils will build a bionic hand made out of cardboard, strings, straws and rubber bands. They will relate the bionic hand to their own hand to understand the function of the fingers and the importance of the thumb, to grab or hold objects with different shapes and forms.

Pupils will also learn that it would not be possible to move the human hand if it was only composed of bones. The pupils will understand how bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments work, by comparing them with the materials used on the bionic hand to move the fingers.

This activity is prepared for 60-90 minutes, depending on the age of the pupils. However, this resource can be proposed as part of a classroom project; encompassing other subjects of study such as arts, language, and the human body.
Subject: Science, Arts
Learning Objectives
  • Understand how the human hand works.
  • Learn that science and medicine use bionic prosthetics to substitute parts of the human body that are not working properly or are missing.
  • Learn that scientists use the human body as inspiration to build tools, such as hands and arms, in hostile environments like space or the deep ocean.
  • Explore and test ideas whilst building a simple machine (a bionic hand) in a group.
    Age range:
    8-12 years old
    Lesson: 60 – 90 minutes depending on the age of students
    Resource available in:
    Activity 1: What is inside your hand?

    In this activity, students will learn about the human hand and the role of the bones, muscles and tendons.

  • Student worksheet printed for each pupil.
  • Pen/pencil
  • Activity 2: Build a bionic hand

    In this activity, students will learn what a bionic hand is and how it works. They will build their own cardboard bionic hand in groups.

  • Cardboard
  • Student worksheet printed for each pupil.
  • Annex 1 printed for each group.
  • Film tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Strings
  • Rubber bands (thick and thin)
  • Straws
  • Activity 3: Test your bionic hand

    In this activity, pupils will perform different tasks with their bionic hand and relate the movements of the bionic hand with their own hands.

  • Pen / pencil
  • Student worksheet printed for each pupil
  • Did you know?

    In the near future, it is expected that crews of astronauts and humanoid robots will work together to exploit space.
    They will both most likely make use of bionic hands. Bionic hands allow robots to manipulate objects made for human use. The astronauts will benefit from bionic hands because manipulation of objects in the vacuum of space through the gloves of a spacesuit is very fatiguing.

    The DEXHAND developed by DLR Institute of Robotics and mechatronics