Robotic Glove for Grasping Assistance

The elegant and unmatched abilities of the human hand in grasping, communicating and gesturing scarcely need to be argued. Philosophers and scientist have been fascinated by their complexity since the most ancient times, the most famous example probably being the dispute between the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Anaxagoras, the latter asserting that "...because of having hands, man grew the most intelligent among animals.". It is not surprising that recovering the hand's functionality has been identified as a high-priority need in all those subjects affected by functional limitations caused by, among others, neuromuscular disorders such as tetraplegia, spinal cord injury or stroke.

This need for a means of assistance in human grasping has promoted the development of several hand exoskeletons, most of which rely on the use of a metallic, multi-degree of freedom linkage structures attached to the dorsal side of the hand. While being reliable and very accurate, rigid structures are bulky and heavy.

Using soft, clothing-like materials, we have designed a robotic glove for grasping assistance that is comfortable, lightweight and low-power consuming, and thus more suitable for daily use. 

Video 1: Overview of the glove and its controller.