Wearable Robotics: Systems and applications: Chapter 9 - A Portable Tailor-Made Exoskeleton for Hand Disabilities

Elsevier,   Wearable Robotics Systems and Applications 2020, Pages 177-191
Benedetto Allotta, Matteo Bianchi, Enrico Meli, Alessandro Ridolfi, Nicola Secciani

Modern robotics is a field that is constantly involving more and more aspects of daily life, from industry to the healthcare sector. Nowadays, robotic assistance to hand-impaired people still represents a hurdle and a challenging task to achieve. The research work of recent years carried out by the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Florence has focused on the development of a tailor-made hand exoskeleton to assist people with hand disabilities. In this chapter the synthesis of the development process, sequentially ordered, is given in order to provide an exhaustive description of the design procedure yielding a fully portable and wearable robotics system. The final version of the designed robotic system presents two levels of personalization on the patient. A single-degree-of-freedom finger mechanism allows precise replication of the natural grasping gesture keeping a lightweight structure and an electromyography-based actuation strategy ensures a straightforward use of the device. These two characteristics lead to a fully patient-based solution for hand assistance.