NeuroMaker Hand FAQ

Commonly Asked Questions

NM Hand Troubleshooting Video

Building or just built the NeuroMaker Hand and encountering some issues? Take a look at our troubleshooting video for some quick tips!

Hardware

Step 1: Make sure the 9V battery and all 4 AA batteries are installed with the correct direction. Do not use rechargeable batteries. If the batteries are hot, remove them immediately from the connectors and battery holder and recycle the faulty batteries properly. 

Step 2: Make sure a CR 2025 battery (included in the NeuroMaker Hand kit ) is installed in the IR remote. 

Step 3: Turn on the power switch on the Hand and make sure both the green and the red LED on the blue power chip light up. If you see only the green LED, replace the 9V battery. If you see only the red LED, replace the 4 AA batteries. 

Step 4: Check the connectors from the servo motors. Refer to page 54 or page 131 in the assembly instruction and double check the orientation of the connectors. Make sure the brown wire is on the left side, and the orange wire on the right side. 

Step 5: Make sure the IR sensor is properly installed. Refer to page 56 or page 133 in the assembly instruction. Depending on the light source of your surroundings, it is recommended to follow the guideline on page 75 in the assembly instruction for a better signal.  

Check the connectors from the servo motors. Refer to page 54 or Page 131 in the assembly instruction and double check the orientation of the connectors. Make sure the brown wire is on the left side, and the orange wire on the right side.

This happens because servo motors are plugged into the wrong pins, or because the servo arms are not calibrated during assembly.  

Step 1:  Check the connectors from the servo motors. Refer to page 54 or Page 131 in the assembly instruction and double check the orientation of the connectors. Make sure the brown wire is on the left side, and the orange wire on the right side. 

Step 2: Make sure the servo motor connectors are plugged into the correct pins on the blue power chip. Servo motors from thumb to little finger correspond to S1- S5 marks on the power chip. It is a common mistake to accidentally switch S2 and S4 since their cables come from the upper 2 servo motors, making them harder to distinguish. 

Step 3:  If you made any adjustment to the cables in the previous step, a calibration is needed. Turn on the power switch of the hand and observe finger movements. The program will tell the fingers to open up naturally, as soon as the hand is powered. If any finger automatically moves out of its default position, open up the backside of the wrist to reveal the servo motors. KEEP THE POWER ON. Remove the screw holding the white servo torque arm and remove the arm. Reattach the arm onto the servo motor while pointing straight up. ( Refer to page 61 or page 136  in the assembly instruction ) Attach the screw and all finger movements should be correct.

Step 1: Power off the NeuroMaker Hand immediately to prevent overheating. This happens because servo motors are plugged into the wrong pins, or because the servo arms are not calibrated during assembly.  

Step 2: Check the connectors from the servo motors. Refer to page 54 or Page 131 in the assembly instruction and double check the orientation of the connectors. Make sure the brown wire is on the left side, and the orange wire on the right side. 

Step 3: Make sure the servo motor connectors are plugged into the correct pins on the blue power chip. Servo motors from thumb to little finger correspond to S1- S5 marks on the power chip. It is a common mistake to accidentally switch S2 and S4 since their cables come from the upper 2 servo motors, making them harder to distinguish. 

Step 4: If you made any adjustment to the cables in the previous step, a calibration is needed. Turn on the power switch of the hand and observe finger movements. The program will tell the fingers to open up naturally, as soon as the hand is powered. If any finger automatically moves out of its default position, open up the backside of the wrist to reveal the servo motors. KEEP THE POWER ON. Remove the screw holding the white servo torque arm and remove the arm. Reattach the arm onto the servo motor while pointing straight up. ( Refer to page 61 or page 136  in the assembly instruction ) Attach the screw and all finger movements should be correct. 

Step 5: If there are still 1 or 2 fingers that do not move at all, the servo motor might be stuck/ broken due to previous collisions with other structural parts or other motor arms. Please contact NeuroMaker support to purchase additional parts.

Step 1: Refer to page 71/ page 146 in the assembly instruction for a good example of finger positions when they are rested. If some fingers of your kit bends too much, the tendon wires are too tight. Unfortunately the only way to adjust the wires is to cut it and reattach with a new piece of wire. 

Step 2: If some or all fingers only move slightly, the tendon wires are too loose. While the servo motor travels through the standard displacement, the loose wire will eat up the distance so the fingers only move a little. Unfortunately the only way to adjust the wires is to cut it and reattach with a new piece of wire.

mBlock Programming

Step 1: Make sure that the starting block is always “When the hand is ready”. The program can not be uploaded without this block. Also make sure there is no compilation error in the code. 

Step 2:  If the programming board is previously used by another user/ program, the serial port could still be occupied. Unplug the USB cable, turn off the hand and exit the mBlock application, then restart everything. Now the port is not occupied. 

Step 3: It is also possible that the wrong serial port is selected in the mBlock. After clicking the “Connect” button in mBlock, a pop up window will appear and all possible ports will be displayed in the drop down menu. If there are other accessories connected to the computer ( keyboard, cameras), it will also be shown. If you see multiple ports, try each one and determine the correct port by trying to upload. 

A more advanced way in the Windows platform is to go to device manager and look for “CH340” device to see which port it uses.

Step 1: Make sure the power switch on the NeuroMaker hand is turned on. 

Step 2: If you have not done so, make sure to go through the troubleshooting guide / Q&A for the hardware. It is very likely to be an assembly error.  

Step 3: If all the fingers move but movements are incomplete, make sure that you give enough time for the finger to move to the target position by adding the “delay” block in between two movement commands. It is recommended to have 1 second ( 1,000 ms ) delay.

Step 1: Make sure that you are searching for the extension instead of the device. After clicking the add button on the left side, look for “Arduino UNO” as the device extension. Then go to the second add button on the bottom to search for “NeuroMaker Hand” as the coding extension. This order can not be reversed. Refer to the coding setup instruction for detailed procedures. 

Step 2: If searching “NeuroMaker Hand” does not show any results, try searching “v3ext”. This is a database issue that desktop versions might encounter.

The microcontroller with a jammed USB port is not designed for programming activities. It contains factory firmware that works with the IR remote and other devices. To program the hand, detach the microcontroller marked with “BrainDEMO” from the blue power chip, and swap to the other microcontroller included in the kit marked with “UNO”.

Absolutely. If you are using the desktop version, whitelist the mBlock software and allow serial port access, or allow USB devices to be read. If you are using the browser based version, whitelist the mLink software and mBlock website: https://ide.mblock.cc

AI Functions

Step 1: Make sure that the power switch on the NeuroMaker Hand is turned on. 

Step 2:  Make sure the hand is connected to the mBlock via live mode. In the bottom left corner, check if the sliding button is on “live mode” instead of “upload mode”. The button below it should show “ Connected” instead of “Connect”.

A simple background is highly recommended. That means avoiding multiple colors, objects and complex light sources that the camera can see. Hold your head steady and wait until the count from 3 to 1 finishes.

BCI Control

Step 1: Make sure that the headband is turned on, by checking the front or side LED lights. 

Step 2: When the headband is turned on, check the pattern on the side LED. It should move from left to right, then from right to left. It should take around 5 seconds to complete this cycle. If the lights move way faster or slower, contact NeuroMaker support. 

Step 3: If the headband is left turned on for a long time, it will stop generating a wireless network. Restart the headband and look for the network again on your computer. 

Step 1: Make sure that the power switch of the NeuroMaker Hand is turned on.  

Step 2: Make sure that the dedicated program is uploaded to the NeuroMaker Hand using mBlock. Refer to the setup guide for detailed procedures. 

Step 3: At the start of NeuroMaker BCI Connect software, make sure to click “scan ports” and choose the correct serial port that connects to the NeuroMaker Hand. 

Step 4: A very common mistake is to connect the headband and the NeuroMaker hand right after the program has been uploaded to the NeuroMaker Hand via mBlock. Since the serial port is still occupied by mBlock, the BCI Connect software is not able to send data to the hand. It is essential to unplug the NeuroMaker hand and reconnect before starting using the BCI Connect software.

It is common to see multiple ports after the scan (for example, COM3 and COM4). If there are other accessories connected to the computer ( keyboard, cameras), it will also be shown. If you see multiple ports, try each one and determine the correct port by trying to upload. 

A more advanced way in the Windows platform is to go to device manager and look for “CH340” device to see which port it uses.

Maintenance

We recommend Alkaline AA batteries and 9V batteries from trusted brands. The IR remote uses a CR2025 3V lithium battery. 

We do not recommend using rechargeable batteries.

Curriculum

The NeuroMaker Hand website has been upgraded! You can find two different portals to engage students: “Curriculum Materials” and “Student Projects” on the NeuroMaker Hand Educational Materials Portal. “Curriculum Materials” present all lessons in a linear, modular format to engage learners over a multi-week learning session directed and operated by the teacher. “Student Projects” provide student facing materials to complete a particular task. Take a look and see what you’ll enjoy!

NeuroMaker curricula and projects and designed around competency, not age level. Some middle school students are ready for higher order programming, while other high school students have never programmed before. For age specific guidance, we recommend viewing our “Academic Resources” on the NeuroMaker Hand Educational Materials Portal for previous case studies or other age specific standards alignment. That being said, Middle and High School level CTE and STEM classes are the recommended users of this solution.

Contact Support

Can't find what you need? Please contact support@neuromakerstem.com