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Design of Multiple Wearable Robotic Extra Fingers for Human Hand Augmentation

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Department of Information Engineering and Mathematics, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
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Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti, 1–06125 Perugia, Italy
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Department of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, 16163 Genoa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Robotics 2019, 8(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics8040102
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 6 December 2019 / Accepted: 8 December 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Italian Robotics)
Augmenting the human hand with robotic extra fingers is a cutting-edge research topic and has many potential applications, in particular as a compensatory and rehabilitation tool for patients with upper limb impairments. Devices composed of two extra fingers are preferred with respect to single finger devices when reliable grasps, resistance to external disturbances, and higher payloads are required. Underactuation and compliance are design choices that can reduce the device complexity and weight, maintaining the adaptability to different grasped objects. When only one motor is adopted to actuate multiple fingers, a differential mechanism is necessary to decouple finger movements and distribute forces. In this paper, the main features of a wearable device composed of two robotic extra fingers are described and analyzed in terms of kinematics, statics, and mechanical resistance. Each finger is composed of modular phalanges and is actuated with a single tendon. Interphalangeal joints include a passive elastic element that allows restoring the initial reference configuration when the tendon is released. The stiffness of each passive element can be customized in the manufacturing process and can be chosen according to a desired closure movement of the fingers. Another key aspect of the device is the differential system connecting the actuator to the fingers. View Full-Text
Keywords: wearable robots; underactuated robots; robotic manipulation wearable robots; underactuated robots; robotic manipulation
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Malvezzi, M.; Iqbal, Z.; Valigi, M.C.; Pozzi, M.; Prattichizzo, D.; Salvietti, G. Design of Multiple Wearable Robotic Extra Fingers for Human Hand Augmentation. Robotics 2019, 8, 102.

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