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ExoHand: new fields of action for humans and machines

ExoHand

New fields of action for humans and machines

Whether in assembly or for remote manipulation, in service robotics or medical therapy: there are many conceivable areas of application for ExoHand. The pneumatic exoskeleton can be put on like a glove, supports the human hand from the outside and thus improves its strength and endurance.

With the ExoHand, the individual fingers of the user can be actively moved, thereby increasing their power. Conversely, the exoskeleton can also record the movements of the hand and transfer them to a robot hand in real time. Through force feedback, the human being can feel what the robot is doing. This means that the human sense of touch can also be used over long distances and can even be used at the interface between the real and virtual worlds.

Tailor-made design and position-accurate control

The shape of the ExoHand is adapted to the individual hand of the user and is made of polyamide using the selective laser sintering process (SLS). Eight pneumatic actuators are mounted on the exoskeleton, which allow the fingers to move, open and close precisely. The corresponding pressure in the chambers is controlled by means of piezo proportional valves. Linear potentiometers detect the position of the fingers and determine the force applied by the actuators. A CoDeSys controller processes all position and force values and enables precise alignment of the second hand.

Potentials in a wide variety of areas

Despite the high degree of automation, there are still many assembly activities in industry that can only be carried out by people. This often results in monotonous and tiring movements that are constantly repeated. Especially for older employees, such activities become a challenge. The ExoHand relieves the user and could thus improve ergonomics at the workplace of the future.

In combination with a brain-computer interface (BCI), ExoHand as an active artificial hand can help stroke patients with symptoms of paralysis to renew the missing connection between brain and hand. For this purpose, an electroencephalography signal (EEG) measured at the head detects the patient's desire to open or close the hand.