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Description

While robotic hands have been developed for manipulation and grasping, their potential as tools for performance evaluation of engineered products - particularly compliant garments that are not easily modeled – has not been broadly studied. In this research, the development of a low-cost anthropomorphic robotic hand is introduced that is designed to characterize glove stiffness in a pressurized environment. The anthropomorphic robotic hand was designed to mimic a human hand in a neutral posture corresponding to the naturally relaxed position in zero gravity, and includes the transverse arch, longitudinal arch, and oblique flexion of the rays. The resulting model also allows for realistic donning and doffing of the prototype spacesuit glove, its pressurization, and torque testing of individual joints. Solid models and 3D printing enabled the rapid design iterations necessary to successfully work with the compliant pressure garment. The performance of the robotic hand is experimentally demonstrated with a spacesuit glove for different levels of pressures, and a unique data processing method is used to calculate the required actuator torque at each finger's knuckle joint. The reliable measurement method confirmed that glove finger torque increases as the internal pressure increases. The proposed robotic design and method provide an objective and systematic way of evaluating the performance of compliant gloves.

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