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Design of a Partially Compliant, Three-Phalanx Underactuated Prosthetic Finger

[+] Author Affiliations
Marco W. M. Groenewegen, Milton E. Aguirre, Just L. Herder

Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Paper No. DETC2015-47055, pp. V05AT08A040; 7 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5A: 39th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5712-0
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Advanced robotic hand prostheses are praised for their impressive robust and fine grasping capabilities generated from intricate systems. Nevertheless, a high demand remains for grasping mechanisms that are mechanically simple, lightweight, and cheap to produce, easy to assemble and low in maintenance costs. This paper presents the design of a partially compliant underactuated finger to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving these rigorous requirements. The conceptual topology of the three phalanx finger is selected based on competitive analysis. Employing Pseudo-Rigid Body Model and Finite Element Analysis, a genetic optimization problem is formulated to minimize bending stresses within compliant flexures. The result is a fully functional demonstrator capable of flexing 180° in finger rotation. The prototype is fabricated from flexible high strength nylon and requires no assembly steps beyond 3D printing. Experimental testing verifies the design method with an acceptable error of < 5%.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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