Innovative design of a robotic exoskeletal hand for medical rehabilitation
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Many different designs for robotic hand exoskeletons have been proposed in the past decade. Despite the many innovative designs and technological advances proposed, there are still some issues that have not been fully addressed. These issues include the device size, affecting device utility, as well as the inability to produce sufficient assistance force. The proposed design researched in this thesis will address all of these issues by using a tendon drive mechanism actuated by a power screw. This design will have the ability to restore mobility to each finger of the user, while at the same time having a low profile and requiring minimal power to operate. Additionally, the device can be controlled via muscle flexing, thus giving individuals with limited mobility the capacity to control the device. Conducting computer simulations and testing of a physical prototype reveal that the exoskeleton design is viable. Furthermore, a viable controller was developed for the device and validated experimentally. Finally, design modifications are discussed which could greatly improve the performance of the design.