Abstract

This paper describes the design and control of a novel hand exoskeleton. A subcategory of upper extremity exoskeletons, hand exoskeletons have promising applications in healthcare services, industrial workplaces, virtual reality, and military. Although much progress has been made in this field, most of the existing systems are position controlled and face several design challenges, including achieving minimal size and weight, difficulty enforcing natural grasping motions, exerting sufficient grip strength, ensuring the safety of the users hand, and maintaining overall user friendliness. To address these issues, this paper proposes a novel, slim, lightweight linkage mechanism design for a hand exoskeleton with a force control paradigm enabled via a compact series elastic actuator. A detailed design overview of the proposed mechanism is provided, along with kinematic and static analyses. To validate the overall proposed hand exoskeleton system, a fully integrated prototype is developed and tested in a series of experimental trials.

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