A wrist exoskeleton equipped with a second thumb

New Zealand engineers have developed a hand exoskeleton with an unusual detail — optional inflatable actuator in the base of the palm, which plays the role of the second thumb. It also has a sensor that reads the muscle activity and starts the operation of the actuator after the user has begun to squeeze the brush. Development was presented at the conference RoboSoft 2020.

In disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, patients are often fully or partially lose the ability to perform everyday actions with your hands. In recent years, rehabilitation engineers began to propose the use of exoskeletons of arms and hands. But they usually can only help to bend the fingers and does not help to straighten and take them.

Engineers from the University of Auckland under the leadership of Liarokapis Minas (Minas Liarokapis) has created an exoskeleton for the brush, assisting patients during all kinds of movements — information and withdrawal of the fingers, their flexion and extension and increasing the quality of the capture with additional “fingers” in the base of the palm.

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