Our long term goal is to develop a new generation of robotic-prosthetic hands that will incorporate key anatomical features of the human hand, especially, the passive dynamics defined by the joint stifftness and damping properties. This paper presents a design of a mechanism that can measure the passive moment of the human hand joint. We designed a motor-driven system, integrating a noninvasive and infrared motion capture system, that can control and record the angle, angular velocity and passive forces of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in the index finger. A total of 19 subjects participated in the experiments. We conducted two experiments to estimate the total passive moments of the MCP joint from the human subjects. The results showed that the novel design of the mechanism collected the precise passive moments and kinematic data, thus allowing us to develop a comprehensive understanding of the passive properties of the human hand joints.

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