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Design and Analysis of a Tendon-Driven, Under-Actuated Robotic Hand

[+] Author Affiliations
Raymond Guo

General Motors R&D, Warren, MI

Vienny Nguyen, Lyndon Bridgwater

NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Lei Niu

Jacobs Technology, Houston, TX

Paper No. DETC2014-35069, pp. V05AT08A095; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5A: 38th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4636-0
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME and General Motors


There has been continuous research and development to add more actuators into robotic hands to increase their dexterity. However, dexterous hands require complex control and are more costly to build. Therefore, many researchers and commercial enterprises have begun developing under-actuated robotic hands with fewer actuators and passive mechanical adaptation to not only reduce complexity and cost, but to also achieve better grasp performance in unstructured settings. This paper presents the design and analysis of the Valkyrie hand — a four fingered, tendon-driven, and under-actuated robotic hand that balances dexterity and simplicity with total 14 joints, and six degrees of actuated freedom. A derivation is provided of general dynamic and static equations for the analysis of a tendon driven mechanism, based on Euler-Lagrange formulation. The equations were used to evaluate the design parameters’ impact on the hand grasp shape and closing effort, and also validated against a design case study.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME and General Motors



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