Daniel Lim received his Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley in 2015. He was also a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student from 2016-2018 before going on a 3-year military leave in Korea. During his time at Berkeley, he was introduced to the CITRIS Invention Lab because of his interest in 3D printers. He spent most of his time at the Invention Lab and eventually became a Superuser, where he helped build Sophie’s Super Hand, a custom prosthetic project for an eight-year-old girl. Lim is currently a visiting researcher at Korea University where he is researching 3D-printed metamaterial for an advanced stealth function.
I did my master’s thesis on building customized prosthetic fingers for finger amputees. And now that I’m back at Korea University, I’m broadening my scope into additive manufacturing, the 3D printing itself. I’m currently exploring materials, structures, and customization with 3D printing rather than just prosthetics.
In the open atmosphere of the Invention Lab, you can just enter, set up at a table, and work on whatever project you want. You can even just hang out and chat. There is nothing like the community in the Lab.
[Senior Lab Manager] Chris Myers mentioned a project for Sophie, a girl in the second grade who wanted a prosthetic hand. Her mom Alexa saw an article about a 3D-printed hand and asked the Invention Lab if there were any volunteers who could help build one; I volunteered. I used only the 3D printers in the Lab to build the hand. It was made to be body-powered — moving the wrist initiates the movement of the finger joints.
Sophie’s hand was definitely the most interesting project that I worked on because it involved a real person. It was amazed that something I built in the Lab could have a real impact on a person’s life. Most of my other projects end up in my portfolio, but this one was different because Sophie was actually using it, wearing it, and showing other kids her cool-looking robotic hand.
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.
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