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Steady Grip


This was undertaken as an individual university project in 2021 for my 'Industrial Design Engineering' module. We were given an open brief to design and engineer a battery powered hand-tool for home use, that not only appeals to the mass market, but also meets the needs of a specific, underserved user group. Please note that this was only an early concept, as each member of our group had to propose a possible concept, before we agreed on one to develop further. See *Fitbit Balance for our team's final project outcome.


Over 25 million people worldwide suffer from Essential Tremor and over 10 million from Parkinson's disease. These result in rotational and lateral hand tremors, inhibiting users from independently carrying out many household tasks.


The Steady Grip aims to assist users with everyday tasks, making it easier to stabilise and control a range of appliances. Attachments can be swapped in and out to suit different applications, and stability is driven via a gimbal-based system.

_________ Project Overview _________

Research & Ideation

Research on hand tremor was conducted as a group, before we split household tasks into several categories. I was designing to assist with computer interaction.

This was a key area, as 15 out of 53 surveyed users reported that they struggled to interact with devices such as touchscreens and keyboards.

A key insight from research highlighted that when arms/wrists were rested, hand tremor was reduced. Therefore, some of my inital ideas focused on incorporating physical supports.

Furthermore, research into currently available products showed that gimbals were good at reducing shakiness when using cameras. I thus used this as a basis for one of my early ideas.

Preliminary concept sketch of the Steady Grip
A second concept - a simple support rest for the user while viewing their phone
Another early concept - using 'predictive touch' to determine user inputs
Final concept sketch before computer aided design
Concept sketch of the attachment mechanism development
Card modelling to gauge dimensions for the device

Development & Refinement

Having taken feedback on my intial ideas from our user research group, I decided to take forward and develop the gimbal concept. This works by stabilising the user's phone, such that they can view it without it shaking about.

One of the key considerations of our project however was that our device should assist with multiple tasks. Therefore, I planned to implement an attachment mechanism, such that several different applications could be used. This included the phone stabiliser, as well as a cup holder.

I also produced lo-fi prototypes, made from basic, cheap materials. These allowed me to gain a better understanding of how the device might feel in the hand, and also helped me to work out scaling before I started working on the CAD.

Final Concept

With my proposed concept decided, I produced detailed CAD models. These not only outlined the exterior visualisation of the device, but also highlighted the internal topology, fixings, and features.

Stability results from 3 motors that provide rotation about 3 axes. These are driven by PID control - the inertial measurement unit measures the angular positions and accelerations of the attachments, before the microcontroller calculates the offset between the desired and current orientation, and sets the motors accordingly.

The device is designed to be convenient to use, with multiple applications possible. Furthermore, it is adaptable, with a simple dial on the device used to adjust the sensitivity to the user's individual tremor.

Visualisation of the final concept, set up for using a smartphone
Exploded view of the main handheld device
Exploded view of the attachment mechanism
Visualisation of the final concept, set up for holding a cup

_________ Skills Developed _________

Soft Skills

User-focused Research & Design | Communication & Teamwork

Hard Skills

Computer Aided Design (Solidworks) | Design for Manufacture & Assembly | Sketching & Prototyping