Portable hand exoskeleton-MDM Lab/University of Florence

Development of low-cost portable hand exoskeleton for assistive and rehabilitation purposes

MDM Lab, Department of Industrial Engineering – University of Florence


Academic Supervisors

Benedetto Allotta (MDM Lab, University of Florence), Kaspar Althoefer (CoRe, King’s College London), Alessandro Ridolfi (MDM Lab, University of Florence)

Principal Investigators

Matteo Bianchi (MDM Lab, University of Florence), Francesco Fanelli (MDM Lab, University of Florence)

Team Candidates

Stefano Capitani, Arianna Cremoni, Lukas Lindenroth, Nicola Secciani, Ali Shafti, Agostino Stilli, Matteo Venturi

An assistive and rehabilitative device for hand opening disabilities has been developed and tested, based on strict requirements of wearability, portability, and modularity. The whole mechanism is characterized by an innovative kinematics. This robotic orthosis is designed to be a a hand exoskeleton which offers a low-cost and portable solution than can assist people with hand opening disabilities in their everyday lives. The exoskeleton can also be used as a rehabilitative device in order to restore the gestures of the hand, after an injury caused by a functional impairment.

The device is mainly realized in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) structural components using a rapid prototyping technique. The cable-driven actuation is provided by means of four independent servomotors placed on the back of the hand. This methodology, concerning the hand opening disabilities, properly defines the novel kinematic mechanism that fits better into the finger trajectories. The project has been developed starting from the geometrical characteristics of the patient’s hand. The testing phase of the real prototype is currently on going for many patients.


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