Development of an Anatomically Correct Testbed (ACT) Hand

  • Ashish D. Deshpande
  • Yoky Matsuoka
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 95)


We have built an Anatomically Correct Testbed (ACT) hand with the purpose of understanding the intrinsic biomechanical and control features of the human hands that are critical for achieving robust, versatile, and dexterous movements as well as object and world exploration. By mimicking the underlying mechanics and controls of the human hand in a hardware platform, our goal is to achieve previously unmatched grasping and manipulation capabilities. In this chapter we present distinguishing design philosophy and features of the ACT Hand compared to the existing robotic hands, and the details of the design and assembly of the finger bones, joints, tendons and actuators. We derive and analyze the unique muscle-to-joint relationships, called the moment arms, in the ACT Hand index finger, and present a software architecture for the control of the hand movement and forces by controlling the numerous muscle actuators. We also illustrate the grasping and manipulation abilities of the ACT Hand. The fully functional ACT Hand platform allows us to experiment with novel control algorithms to develop a deeper understanding of human dexterity.


Robotic hand Hand biomechanics Human-inspired design Hand control software Moment arm variations 



The authors would like to thank Zhe Xu, Michael J. Vande Weghe, Benjamin H. Brown, Timothy Blakeley, Lillian Y. Chang, David D. Wilkinson, Sean M. Bidic for their role in the design and building of the ACT Hand. Also the authors would like to thank Jonathan Ko, Ravi Balasubramanian and Brian Dellon for their role in data collection and modeling of the moment arm relationships.


  1. 1.
    R. Balasubramanian, Y. Matsuoka, Biological stiffness control strategies for the anatomically correct testbed (ACT) hand, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2008Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. Balasubramanian, Y. Matsuoka, The role of small redundant actuators in precise manipulation, in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barrett Technology, Inc., WAM specifications, Accessed Sept 2009
  4. 4.
    T. Blakely, Y. Matsuka, Software framework for human neuromuscular behavior, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    P.W. Brand, A.M. Hollister, Clinical Mechanics of the Hand, 3rd edn. (Mosby, St. Louis, 1999)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P.W. Brand, M.H. Anne, Clinical Mechanics of the Hand (Mosby-Year Book Inc., St. Louis, 1993)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    M.C. Carrozza, B. Massa, S. Micera, R. Lazzarini, M. Zecca, P. Dario, The development of a novel prosthetic hand- ongoing research and preliminary results. IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatron. 7, 108–114 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    L.Y. Chang, Y. Matsuka, A kinematic thumb model for the act hand, in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2006Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Y.S. Choi, T. Deyle, C.C. Kemp, Benchmarking assistive mobile manipulation: a list of household objects for robotic retrieval prioritized by people with ALS, in International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, 2009Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    J.C. Colditz, Anatomic considerations for splinting the thumb, in Rehabilitation of the Hand: Surgery and Therapy, ed. by J. Hunter, E.J. Mackin, A.D. Callahan (C. V. Mosby Company, Philadelphia, 1900)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    S.A. Dalley, T.E. Wiste, T.J. Withrow, M. Goldfarb, Design of a multifunctional anthropomorphic prosthetic hand with extrinsic actuation. IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatron. 14, 699–706 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    A.D. Deshpande, R. Balasubramanian, J. Ko, Y. Matsuoka, Acquiring variable moment arms for index finger using a robotic testbed. IEEE Trans. Biol. Eng. 57, 2034–2044 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    A.D. Deshpande, N. Gialis, Y. Matsuoka, Contributions of the visco-elastic forces during the index finger and wrist movements, in Press Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 2011Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    A.D. Deshpande, J. Ko, D. Fox, Y. Matsuoka, ACT hand finger control: muscle and joint torque control strategies, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2009Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    A. D. Deshpande, Z. Xu, M. J. Vande Weghe, L. Y. Chang, B. H. Brown, D. D. Wilkinson, S. M. Bidic, Y. Matsuoka, Mechanisms of the anatomically correct testbed (ACT) hand. ASME/IEEE Trans. Mechatron. 10(1), 2013 Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    R.J. Flanagan, M.C. Bowman, R.S. Johansson, Control strategies in object manipulation tasks. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 16, 650–659 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    M. Garcia-Elias, K. An, L. Berglund, R.L. Linscheid, W.P. Cooney, E. Chao, Extensor mechanism of the fingers. i: a quantitative geometric study. J. Hand. Surg. 16A, 1130–1136 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    A. Hollister, D.J. Giurintano, W.L. Buford, L.M. Myers, A. Novick, The axes of rotation of the thumb interphalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints. Clin. Orthop. Relat. Res. 320, 188–193 (1995)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hosmer Dorrance Corporation, Body-powered prosthetic hand, Sept 2009
  20. 20.
    iLimb: Touch Bionics, ilimb, (As of Jan 8, 2010)
  21. 21.
    D.G. Kamper, H.C. Fischer, E.G. Cruz, Impact of finger posture on mapping from muscle activation to joint torque. Clin. Biomech. 21, 361–369 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessell, Principles of Neural Engineering, 4th edn. (McGraw Hill, New York, 2000)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    J. Ko, D. Klein, D. Fox, D. Hähnel, Gaussian processes and reinforcement learning for identification and control of an autonomous blimp, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2007Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    T. Kuiken, G. Dumanian, R. Lipschutz, L. Miller, K. Stubblefield, The use of targeted muscle reinnervation for improved myoelectric prosthesis control in a bilateral shoulder disarticulation amputee. Prosthet. Orthot. Int. 28(3), 245–253, 2004Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    T.E. Milner, D.W. Franklin, Impedance control and internal model use during the initial stage of adaptation to novel dynamics in humans. J. Physiol. 567, 651–664 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    D. Nishikawa, Y. Ishikawa, W. Yu, M. Maruishi, I. Watanabe, H. Yokoi, Y. Mano, Y. Kakazu, On-line learning based emg prosthetic hand, in Electrophysiology and Kinesiology, 2000Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    OttoBock HealthCare, Inc., Cable-controlled arm prostheses, Accessed Sept 2009
  28. 28.
    N.S. Pollard, R.C. Gilbert, Tendon arrangement and muscle force requirements for humanlike force capabilities in a robotic finger, in Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2002Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    M. Velliste, S. Perel, M.C. Spalding, A.S. Whitford, A.B. Schwartz, Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding. Nature 453(7198), 1098–1101 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    M.V. Weghe, M. Rogers, M. Weissert, Y. Matsuoka, The ACT hand: design of the skeletal structure, in Proceedings of the 2004 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2004Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    D.D. Wilkinson, M.V. Weghe, Y. Matsuoka, An extensor mechanism for an anatomical robotic hand, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2003Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    A. Witney, D. Wolpert, The effect of externally generated loading on predictive grip force modulation. Neurosci. Lett. 414(1), 10–15 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    D.M. Wolpert, Z. Ghahramani, Computational principles of movement neuroscience. Nat. Neurosci. 3, 1212–1217 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    F.E. Zajac, Muscle coordination of movement: a perspective. J. Biomech. 26(no. Supplement 1), 109–124 (1993), (Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe University of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringThe University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations