[Abstract] A soft robotic glove for hand motion assistance

Abstract:

Soft robotic devices have the potential to be widely used in daily lives for their inherent compliance and adaptability, which result in high safety under unexpected situations. System complexity and requirements are much lower, comparing with conventional rigid-bodied robotic devices, which also result in significantly lower costs. This paper presents a robotic glove by utilizing soft artificial muscles providing redundant degrees of freedom (DOFs) to generate both flexion and extension hand motions for daily grasping and manipulation tasks. Different with the existing devices, to minimize the weight applied to the user’s hands, pneumatic soft actuators were located on the fore arm and drive each finger via cable-transmission mechanisms. This actuation mechanism brings extra adaptability, motion smoothness, and user safety to the system. This design makes wearable robotic gloves more light-weight and user-friendly. Both theoretical and experimental analyses were conducted to explore the mechanical properties of pneumatic soft actuators. In addition, the fingertip trajectories were analyzed using Finite Element Methods, and a series of experiments were conducted evaluating both the technical and practical performances of the proposed glove.

 

I. Introduction

Glove-type wearable robotic devices are developed to assist people with impaired hand functions both in their activities of daily living (ADLs) and in rehabilitation [1]–[12]. Most of such wearable robotic devices generate hand movements with linkage systems actuated by electrical motors which usually are heavy and inconvenient for using. Moreover, because of the human hand variation, most wearable robotic devices require customization in order to fulfill the geometrical fitting requirements between the exoskeleton device and the human hand joints. Approximating the high dexterity of human hands usually requires high complexity in both the mechanical and controller structures of the robotic systems, and hence also results in high costs for most users.

via A soft robotic glove for hand motion assistance – IEEE Conference Publication

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