New Capabilities for Grasp-Assisting Gloves

robotics automation and control
New Capabilities for Grasp-Assisting Gloves (MSC-TOPS-80)
Space Suit Roboglove
Overview
Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center have designed and developed Space Suit gloves with grasping and restorative capabilities to increase both strength and mobility. These new capabilities comprise of components that can be integrated into existing grasping gloves to enhance operation and range of motions. In particular, actuators were designed to have a greater force output, better efficiency, higher reliability and thermal range than commercially-available actuators. Also, position sensors were added to improve the accuracy of the grasping motion, and a built-in restorative force to assist movement back into a relaxed, non-grasping position. A "Triple Brummel Anchor" was designed to improve the interaction between the actuator and a human's finger to prevent cinching and avoid high stress concentrations in the line of the "tendon" used to maneuver the wearer's hand while performing tasks. The Triple Brummel Anchor can be integrated outside the glove and requires no special tools. Industries such as manufacturing and healthcare can benefit by the application of these components.

The Technology
NASA is currently developing the next generation of space suits for future missions, including the optimization of space suit gloves, which, when coupled to a pressurized suit, tend to limit the range of motion of an astronaut's hand to as little as 20%. Many of NASA's future missions will be in challenging environments where hand dexterity of the astronaut will be critical for the success of NASA missions. NASA innovators have developed several features to reduce hand exertion when an astronaut is wearing the space suit gloves. Some of the major components include improved actuators, sensors for assisting with the positioning in the hand during grasping, and the new, low-maintenance Triple Brummel Anchor. These components were developed to create interactive robotic gloves that increase hand strength and dexterity. This new NASA space suit glove can be applied to improve the state of the art of commercial grasp-assist robotic gloves. New Capabilities for Grasp-Assisting Gloves is at a TRL 6 (system/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space), and it is now available for licensing and integration into a commercial product. Please note that NASA does not manufacture products itself for commercial sale.
Image of the SpaceSuit Roboglove Prototype New Capabilities for Grasp-Assisting Gloves can be used  to assist patients with impaired hand muscle strength.
Benefits
  • Enhance Robotic Systems: can easily be integrated to enhance an existing grasp-assist robotic glove
  • Improved Actuators: have greater force output, better efficiency, higher reliability and thermal range
  • Position Sensors: improves locational movement of the actuator for better grasping assistance
  • Triple Brummel Anchor: soft material anchors the grasp-assist robotic glove to a human hand firmly, but without uncomfortable stress or pain on the wearer's hand

Applications
  • Healthcare: development of rehabilitation aids, and assistance of patients with impaired hand muscle strength
  • Manufacturing: operation of tools and performance of manual labor for extended periods of time
Technology Details

robotics automation and control
MSC-TOPS-80
MSC-26236-1
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