Joel Gibbard

"When it came to making my university choices I chose those universities with reputable engineering departments. However, after visiting all my choices I decided to put Plymouth as my only choice as I liked the fact that it employed a practical approach to engineering and it much more accurately fit my requirements. It also had some great facilities and staff who were experts in their fields and who had a real passion for their subjects.  

Creativity was encouraged where appropriate. For my final year project I designed a low-cost robotic prosthetic hand for amputees – a highly functional hand for around £500. The University was kind enough to fund the project and it is my hope that further work could lead to a revolution in advanced prosthetics that could see them used more widely and in poorer countries. The project won several prizes including Texas Instruments first prize for Best Application of Technological Skills.  

As an Applications Engineer at National Instruments I provide technical assistance to National Instruments (NI) customers, write technical articles and create product demonstrations. I am part of team of five that built a Quadcopter Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) using NI hardware and software.   

Without my degree I wouldn’t have even been considered as an applicant for my role at National Instruments and I simply wouldn’t have the opportunities I now have. In my current role, I’ve actually used almost all of the skills I developed on my course and many of these have been built upon further."

“For my final year project I designed a low-cost robotic prosthetic hand for amputees”

Joel went on from National Instruments to found the Open Hand Project, raising tens of thousands of pounds to develop his final year project. He has since won numerous awards and funding to further develop the technology and design his passion has created.

Joel Gibbard

Joel went on to work for National Instruments while further developing the robotic hand he made for his final year project. The Dextrus hand aims to make advanced prosthetic hands more accessible to amputees.

A low-cost robotic hand that offers much of the functionality of a human hand. Ultimately, these hands will be sold for under £630.