A Soft High Force Hand Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation and Assistance of Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke Individuals

by   Shuangyue Yu, et al.

Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and stroke who is lack of manipulation capability have a particular need for robotic hand exoskeletons. Among assistive and rehabilitative medical exoskeletons, there exists a sharp trade-off between device power on the one hand and ergonomics and portability on other, devices that provide stronger grasping assistance do so at the cost of patient comfort. This paper proposes using fin-ray inspired, cable-driven finger orthoses to generate high fingertip forces without the painful compressive and shear stresses commonly associated with conventional cable-drive exoskeletons. With combination cable-driven transmission and segmented-finger orthoses, the exoskeleton transmitted larger forces and applied torques discretely to the fingers, leading to strong fingertip forces. A prototype of the finger orthoses and associated cable transmission was fabricated, and force transmission tests of the prototype in the finger flexion mode demonstrated a 2:1 input-output ratio between cable tension and fingertip force, with a maximum fingertip force of 22 N. Moreover, the proposed design provides a comfortable experience for wearers thanks to its lightweight and conformal properties to the hands.


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