Tomas Georgiou is a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley. Hailing from Minnesota, Georgiou earned his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota. Georgiou describes his research concentration in prosthetic limb development, the machines and materials he has worked with, and favorite memories of being a Superuser in the CITRIS Invention Lab.
The goal of my research is to advance the development of upper limb assistive devices — anything from prosthetic fingers to hands. My primary interest is to develop new concepts of low-cost technologies relevant for those mechanical designs and figure out ways to drive down the cost of such devices. Developing modular devices and using 3D printing are good approaches, because as people grow or change, they can customize their devices to their own specific needs.
I worked with several graduate students on the mechanical design of a parametric prosthetic finger. I’ve worked with other masters of engineering students on an assistive exoskeleton glove for people with upper limb impairment. My current project is working on a prosthetic for playing the drums. We use mostly 3D printers and Ultimakers in the Invention Lab. The relatively new Form 2 3D printers have been really great because the precision is absolutely remarkable. We also use polylactic acid (PLA) and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), flexible materials that are ideal for this application. We use laser cutting a lot, especially in the early stages of prototyping, because it’s quicker than other tools.
As a Superuser, I help to keep the lab open for extended hours. Some of the most memorable experiences are when Superusers are working on projects late into the night. Being in the Lab around midnight or 2 a.m. with people, it doesn’t really feel like work, because we play music and help each other out while we work. So some of those moments definitely stick with me.
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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