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Design of a Robotic Hand With a Biologically-Inspired Parallel Actuation System for Prosthetic Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Anthony L. Crawford

Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID

Alba Perez-Gracia

Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID; Institut de Robotica i Informatica Industrial (UPC/CSIC), Barcelona, Spain

Paper No. DETC2010-28418, pp. 29-36; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


This paper presents the design of a robotic hand for prosthetic applications. The main characteristic of this robotic hand is its biologically-inspired parallel actuation system, which is based on the behavior/strength space of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus (FDP) and the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis (FDS) muscles. The design separates the strength space of the FDS and FDP muscles into a lighter strength region where finer manipulation and general approach tasks are executed, and a higher strength region where the more robust grasps are achieved. Two parallel actuator types and kinematic structures are designed to complement the requirements of both strength space regions. This unique structure is intended to be driven by electromyographical (EMG) signals captured at the surface of the skin. The direct relation between signal and actuation system lends itself well to interpreting the EMG signals from the FDP and FDS muscles into effective task execution, with the goal of helping the user to achieve a good approximation of the full capabilities associated with the human hand, without compromising strength, dexterity, appearance, or weight; which are common issues associated with prosthetic hands.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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