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Building Machines That Emulate Humans

Make your next STEM lesson exciting with this Microsoft® activity! The lesson places emphasis on combining life science with robotics to show how the mechanics of hands work. 

The lessons are broken down into 4 parts in order to give students a deeper understanding of the activity and its real-world applications. You can download the lesson plans here.




For the first two parts of the activity, you will need materials that are available in our Robotic Hand Kits. You can purchase an individual kit which is suitable for one student, or a classroom kit which accommodates for 6 students. Shop our full range of products related to Hacking STEM here.

Individual Kit


Classroom Kit


Part 1 - Articulate Finger
Students construct an analog articulated finger out of a straw to understand the anatomy of the bones and muscles in the finger. 

Part 2 - Robotic Finger
At this stage, students construct a flex sensor and then turn their articulated finger from the previous stage into a robotic finger. Electronic components are introduced to the project at this stage, using fundamental materials such as copper tape, solid core wire, and a servo motor.

Part 3 - Connecting
Once the robotic finger has been created, students can then connect these components to a microcontroller, such as the BBC Micro:Bit, so they can visualize the movement of the flex sensor in excel. 

Required Resources (one per robotic hand)

Micro:Bit Starter Kit

Half Breadboard

Breakout board (edge connector)


Part 4 - Complete Robotic Hand
Now that your students are able to create one finger, they can apply this knowledge to create an entire hand.

A second Micro:Bit is required for this stage - you'll need one extra board per hand.

Micro:Bit Board


This lesson has been provided by Microsoft® as a part of their series of Hacking STEM activities. Full project instructions, technical requirements, and lesson plans are found at the Microsoft Hacking STEM website.


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