Power-Assistive Finger Exoskeleton With a Palmar Opening at the Fingerpad

Pilwon Heo, Jung Kim
2014 IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  
This paper presents a powered finger exoskeleton with an open fingerpad, named the Open Fingerpad eXoskeleton (OFX). The palmar opening at the fingerpad allows for direct contact between the user's fingerpad and objects in order to make use of the wearer's own tactile sensation for dexterous manipulation. Lateral side walls at the end of the OFX's index finger module are equipped with custom load cells for estimating the wearer's pinch grip force. A pneumatic cylinder generates assistance
more » ... es assistance force, which is determined according to the estimated pinch grip force. The OFX transmits the assistance force directly to the objects without exerting pressure on the wearer's finger. The advantage of the OFX over an exoskeleton with a closed fingerpad was validated experimentally. During static and dynamic manipulation of a test object, the OFX exhibited a lower safety margin than the closed exoskeleton, indicating a higher ability to adjust the grip force within an appropriate range. Furthermore, the benefit of force assistance in reducing the muscular burden was observed in terms of muscle fatigue during a static pinch grip. The median frequency (MDF) of the surface electromyography (sEMG) signal from the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle displayed a lower reduction rate for the assisted condition, indicating a lower accumulation rate of muscle fatigue.
doi:10.1109/tbme.2014.2325948 pmid:24860025 fatcat:s2le63wcuvaa5iuzsfvd7e4lky