New Mexico MESA

New Mexico MESA

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FAQ-MESA Day 2016


Last updated January 5, 2016

Prosthetic Arm 2.0

Question: For the Arduino component of the arm, can the Arduino buttons to control the fingers be placed anywhere on the body? Or do they have to be attached to the arm?

Response: The buttons can be located on other parts of the body, however keep in mind that General Rule 7 states that “Team members may use their unencumbered hand to activate Arduino components and to hold the bucket, crate, or dexterity testing device during the tasks.” This means that although the opposite hand can turn on and off Arduino components, it should not be used to control the components. The spirit of the competition is to make it possible for a person with only one functioning hand to have a prosthetic that will allow them to have two functioning hands for everyday use.

Question: In the MESA Day handbook (Page 18, Item S under Task Details) it states “Any object held by the device when time is called will not count. This object will not be considered for scoring purposes.” What if the object was carried to the basket and was being held on the way to the finishing area when time is called. Do we still get the points for taking it to the basket (one way)?

Response: Yes, you get points for taking it to the basket. It would be half points, so for instance the ruler is carried to the basket and doesn’t make it to the finishing area would be 7. 5 points (15 points/2).

Question: If a part breaks during the competition, such as a servo, can it be replaced? (12-04-15)

Response: Yes, as long as it’s the same part and replaced within the time allowed before the next event. General Rule 4 states that “Adjustments, including Arduino programming, and repairs are allowed and must be done under supervision of a judge. Repairs are allowed using ONLY duplicate replacement parts and materials.”

Question: Do we have to use Arduino Programing to control the arm? (12-15-15)

Response: Yes. General Rule 2.C states that “The device must have at least two artificial fingers which: MUST be controlled by Arduino programming and components”. However, both fingers do not have to move.  One is allowed to be stationary.

At our state MESA Day an Arduino microprocessor is required for use so that judges can verify that Arduino Programming is used in the device per requirements.  A direct connection to a servo or motor provides power but does not provide Arduino Programming.  An Arduino microprocessor/board is defined as one that has come in the MESA Sparkfun Kit or one that has an Arduino marking. 

Question: Is there a minimum number of Arduino components? (12-16-15)

Response: There is not a minimum number of Arduino components required on the arm.

Question: How will MESA verify the use of Arduino components and programming? (12-16-15)


For Arduino components we will use the documentation as described below – Nationals Only.

  • We will require that budget documentation for the processor must state that it is an Arduino processor and include a picture.-Nationals Only
  • Furthermore we will require that the processor be visible so that we can visually compare the documentation to the processor.

For verification that Arduino Programing is used to control the fingers we will use the process below – Nationals Only

  • At the National event, we will ask teams to bring their laptop or other computing device to spec check so that we can visually inspect their programming. We will look for two key indicators that Arduino was used. Those indicators are the Void Set-up and Void Loop functions.
  • We also encourage teams to include notation/comments in their programming so judges can understand the programming steps.

Question: Can you please clarify ‘activation’ of Arduino components further? (12-16-15)

Response:  Activation is defined as turning on (providing power) or initiating the programming. Once this “activation” is complete the unencumbered hand can no longer have any involvement with the prosthetic device. The device can be activated after the judges calls ready to start while outside the task area.

Question: Can you use multiple motors, servos, or microprocessors? (01-05-16)

Response:  Yes, the only requirement is that one Arduino marked processor is used to verify Arduino programming. The only constraint is that all parts fit within allowed budget.




NM MESA Partners