Development of a Lightweight Prosthetic Hand for Patients with Amputated Fingers
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Korea
School of Electrical and Engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan 15588, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 3536; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103536
Received: 27 April 2020 / Revised: 13 May 2020 / Accepted: 16 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Systems for Biomedical Applications)
Finger amputations are the most common upper limb amputation, and they occur approximately 100 times more often than hand amputations. We developed a prosthetic hand for amputees with a thumb and metacarpal. In this case of amputation, the installation of actuators and electrical components is difficult because space is considerably limited owing to the residual metacarpal. This design issue is solved by installing actuators vertically between finger modules and the mounting part where the electrical parts are embedded. With this design, the arrangement between the palm of the patient and the fingers of the prosthetic hand can be adjusted as well. Weight is also an especially important design issue in the development of a practical prosthetic hand because the patient perceives that weight. Most prosthetic hands are attached to the residual limb of the amputee by compressing the contact surface between the product and the amputated body part of the patient. Heavy weight causes users to feel discomfort and fatigue over extended periods of usage. In this study, all frames used in the proposed prosthetic hand were fabricated from nylon using multi-jet-fusion three-dimensional printing. As a result, the weight of the developed prosthetic hand was only 152.32 g but still had the desired strength and stiffness. Each prosthetic finger has four-degree-of-freedom. The distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, and metacarpophalangeal joints are coupled and driven by power from an actuator, which is transferred to each joint through the tendons. Adduction, abduction, and self-adaptive grasping motions were passively realized using linear and torsional springs. The prototype was fabricated based on these design concepts and functions, and its functionality was verified in experiments using diverse objects.