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Experimental Study to Improve “Federica” Prosthetic Hand and Its Control System

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XV Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing – MEDICON 2019 (MEDICON 2019)


Modern 3D printing technologies and wide availability of microcontroller boards allow to make active prosthetic devices in a simple way. This is the case of “Federica”, a very low-cost, under-actuated, active hand prosthesis. The five fingers of the prosthesis are moved by a single motor through inelastic tendons. The control system of the prosthesis is proportional to muscle contraction: firstly, EMG was used, then mechanical sensors that measure muscle volumetric variation were successfully utilized. This prosthesis proved to be particularly energy efficient and fast; it provided a general grasp function by adapting the exerted forces, thus allowing to easily catch even deformable objects. This study presents further analyses and design improvements of this prosthesis. In particular, a new, extremely simple but effective conditioning system of a force sensor resistor was presented and tested. In addition, the actual three-dimensional kinematics of a single finger was captured by means of high frame rate cameras and then analyzed. The new sensor conditioning system was characterized. It proved to be as effective as the EMG envelope to proportionally control the hand prosthesis motion, and it allowed an easier connection to common microcontroller boards. Kinematic analysis allowed to accurately reconstruct the actual phalanges motion over time.

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Correspondence to Daniele Esposito .

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Esposito, D. et al. (2020). Experimental Study to Improve “Federica” Prosthetic Hand and Its Control System. In: Henriques, J., Neves, N., de Carvalho, P. (eds) XV Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing – MEDICON 2019. MEDICON 2019. IFMBE Proceedings, vol 76. Springer, Cham.

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