Modelling and Design of a Synergy-based Actuator for a Tendon-driven Soft Robotic Glove
Khanh, Dinh Binh
Date of Issue2016
2016 6th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob)
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The need for a means of assistance in human grasping, to compensate for weakness or to augment performance, is well documented. An appealing new way of doing so is through soft, wearable robots that work in parallel with the human muscles. In this paper we present the design and modelling of a tendon-driving unit that empowers a wearable, soft glove. Being portability one of our main objectives, we use only 1 motor to move 8 degrees of freedom of the hand. To achieve this we use an underactuation strategy based on the human hand’s first postural synergy, which explains alone 60% of activities of daily living. The constrains imposed by the underactuation strategy are softened, to allow adaptability during grasping, by placing elastic elements in series with the tendons. A simulation of the dynamic behaviour of the glove on a human hand allows us to quantify the magnitude and distribution of the forces involved during usage. These results are used to guide design choices such as the power of the motor and the stiffness of the springs. The designed tendondriving unit comprises a DC motor which drives an array of spools dimensioned according to the first postural synergy, an electromechanical clutch to hold the hand in position during static posture and a feeder mechanism to avoid slacking of the tendons around the spool. Finally, the tendon-driving unit is tested to verify that it satisfies motion and force characteristics required to assist its wearer in activities of daily living.
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