The Effects of Extravehicular Activity Gloves on Human Hand Performance

Melissa H. Welsh, David L. Akin
2001 SAE Technical Paper Series   unpublished
Past approaches to space suit glove evaluation have primarily been subjective. This report details efforts at the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory to use standardized dexterity tests and advanced biomechanics instrumentation to provide objective measures of glove performance. Ten subjects participated in the study. Tests were conducted barehanded, and wearing pressurized and unpressurized space suit gloves. Data on performance time, range of motion, dexterity, strength, fatigue,
more » ... nd comfort were collected. Range of motion data was measured using an experimental data glove that instrumented the movement of the joints of the right hand. The results indicated that performance time wearing pressurized gloves is not adequately estimated by performance wearing unpressurized gloves. Also, joint angle results indicated a decrease in the range of motion from the barehanded condition, but no significant difference between the gloved-hand conditions. Thus, range of motion is adequately estimated for the pressurized condition by examining range of motion wearing unpressurized gloves. Results of this research indicate that the use of standardized dexterity tests, with appropriate modifications to accommodate the restricted dexterity, provides a useful basis for evaluating space suit glove performance. Previous Work -Range of motion has traditionally been measured using video tracking of joint angles. However, this technique has been highly unreliable due to the requirement that the joint angles of interest be directly perpendicular to the plane of the camera. Ranniger (1993) examined joint angles by using fiberoptic bend sensing technology. However, the results obtained examined joint motion for the thumb and index fingers
doi:10.4271/2001-01-2164 fatcat:wgtkwz3pffcp3hxjpqym67zcba