Development of a Hand Exoskeleton System for Quantitative Analysis of Hand Functions
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This paper proposes a hand exoskeleton system for evaluating hand functions. To evaluate hand functions, the hand exoskeleton system must be able to pull each finger joint, measure the finger joint angle and exerted force on the finger simultaneously. The proposed device uses serially connected 4-bar linkage structures, which have two embedded actuators with encoders and two loadcells per finger, to move each phalanx independently and measure the finger joint angles. A modular design was used for the exoskeleton, to facilitate the removal of unnecessary modules in different experiments and improve convenience. Silicon was used on the surface of the worn part to reduce the skin irritation that results from prolonged usage. This part was also designed to be compatible with various finger thicknesses. Using the proposed hand exoskeleton system, finger independence, multi-finger synergy, and finger joint stiffness were determined in five healthy subjects. The finger movement and force data collected in the experiments were used for analyzing three hand functions based on the physical and physiological phenomena.
Keywordsevaluation of hand function hand rehabilitation wearable system exoskeleton
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This study was supported by Translational Research Center for Rehabilitation Robots (Grant No. NRCTR-EX16004), Korea National Rehabilitation Center, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Korea.
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