Optimized design of a body-powered finger prosthesis using fingertip trajectories based on polar coordinate analysis


This paper presents a design and evaluation of a customized finger prosthesis that generates a natural finger motion. The design of the prosthesis followed two primary requirements: i) The size of the prosthesis should reflect that of an amputee’s finger; ii) the prosthesis should enable the natural finger motion of the amputee. To achieve these aims, two methods were employed: i) An incomplete fourbar mechanism by utilizing the remaining joint of a subject as the joint in the mechanism; ii) a fingertip trajectory analysis in polar coordinates to model the natural finger motion. In this paper, we focused on the design of the finger prosthesis so that the prototype was manufactured based on the finger information of a normal subject before applying it to the actual finger amputee. The performance of the proposed system was verified by intensive experiments for grasping and manipulation with the proposed system.

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This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIT) (No. NRF-2019R1A2C2084677).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joonbum Bae.

Additional information

Recommended by Editor Ja Choon Koo

Yeongyu Park received the B.S. degree in mechanical and advanced materials engineering from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, Korea, in 2014. Currently, he is pursuing the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering at UNIST. His research interests include wearable hand exoskeleton systems and human-machine interaction systems.

Joonbum Bae received the B.S. degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering (summa cum laude) from Seoul National University, Korea, in 2006, and the M.S. degree in mechanical engineering, the M.A. degree in statistics, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, USA, in 2008, 2010, and 2011, respectively. In 2012, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UNIST, Korea, where he is currently the Director of the Bio-Robotics and Control Laboratory. His current research interests include modeling, design, and control of human-robot interaction systems, soft robotics, and biologically inspired robot systems.

Hyeonjun Kim received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Dankook University, Young-in, South Korea, in 2010, and the M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, Korea, in 2019. His current re-search interests include design, wear-able systems, collaborative robot and industrial robot.

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Kim, H., Park, Y. & Bae, J. Optimized design of a body-powered finger prosthesis using fingertip trajectories based on polar coordinate analysis. J Mech Sci Technol 34, 387–399 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12206-019-1238-5

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  • Body-powered finger prosthesis
  • Four-bar mechanism
  • Under-actuation
  • Fingertip trajectory analysis
  • Modular wearable interface