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Tailor-Made Hand Exoskeletons at the University of Florence: From Kinematics to Mechatronic Design

1
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Florence, 50139 Florence, Italy
2
IRCCS Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, Via di Scandicci, 269, 50143 Florence, Italy
3
Institute for Complex Systems, National Research Council, Via Madonna del Piano, 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Secciani, N.; Bianchi, M.; Meschini, A.; Ridolfi, A.; Volpe, Y.; Governi, L.; Allotta, B. Assistive Hand Exoskeletons: The Prototypes Evolution at the University of Florence. In proceedings of the International Conference of IFToMM ITALY, Cassino, Italy, 29–30 November 2018.
Machines 2019, 7(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/machines7020022
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Italian Machine Design)
Recently, robotics has increasingly become a companion for the human being and assisting physically impaired people with robotic devices is showing encouraging signs regarding the application of this largely investigated technology to the clinical field. As of today, however, exoskeleton design can still be considered a hurdle task and, even in modern robotics, aiding those patients who have lost or injured their limbs is surely one of the most challenging goal. In this framework, the research activity carried out by the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Florence concentrated on the development of portable, wearable and highly customizable hand exoskeletons to aid patients suffering from hand disabilities, and on the definition of patient-centered design strategies to tailor-made devices specifically developed on the different users’ needs. Three hand exoskeletons versions will be presented in this paper proving the major taken steps in mechanical designing and controlling a compact and lightweight solution. The performance of the resulting systems has been tested in a real-use scenario. The obtained results have been satisfying, indicating that the derived solutions may constitute a valid alternative to existing hand exoskeletons so far studied in the rehabilitation and assistance fields. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomechanical engineering; wearable robotics; hand exoskeleton; mechanism design and optimization; kinematic analysis; mechatronics biomechanical engineering; wearable robotics; hand exoskeleton; mechanism design and optimization; kinematic analysis; mechatronics
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Secciani, N.; Bianchi, M.; Ridolfi, A.; Vannetti, F.; Volpe, Y.; Governi, L.; Bianchini, M.; Allotta, B. Tailor-Made Hand Exoskeletons at the University of Florence: From Kinematics to Mechatronic Design. Machines 2019, 7, 22.

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