Soft-G: A Novel Soft Exoskeleton Glove Inspired by the Forearm Muscle Structure

The study developed and assessed a novel soft exoskeleton glove generating dexterous finger joint movements with little constraints on volitional motions. Four pneumatic artificial muscles were attached to each finger, which formed two antagonistic pairs of muscles similar to the human anatomy and thereby enabled various postural control of the individual joints. This unique structure provided 20 DOFs with the exoskeleton. A unique adjustable mechanism also allowed for fixing the soft exoskeleton suitable for user’s hand shape and size semi-automatically. Our glove generated static force of approximately 8 N at the fingertip, and moved a single finger at approximately 10 Hz and all five digits sequentially at 25 Hz. Through co-contracting the antagonistic muscles, the fingertip force generated by the tapping was increased by 1.5 times. Compared with hard exoskeleton gloves, our soft exoskeleton glove had lower constraints on the volitional finger motions performed by pianists, and also enabled to passively move the fingers quicker. Finally, after the soft exoskeleton passively moved the fingers so as to play a musical excerpt with the piano over a half hour, force variability of the keypresses was reduced when playing even without wearing the glove. Passive movement guidance by the soft exoskeleton may facilitate fine control of sequential force production.

Related Publication (Selected)

  • N. Takahashi, S. Furuya and H. Koike, “Soft Exoskeleton Glove with Human Anatomical Architecture: Production of Dexterous Finger Movements and Skillful Piano Performance,” IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 679-690, 2020, doi: 10.1109/TOH.2020.2993445. 【2021 IEEE Transactions on Haptics Best Application Paper Award】
  • N. Takahashi, H. Takahashi, H. Koike, “Soft Exoskeleton Glove Enabling Force Feedback for Human-Like Finger Posture Control with 20 Degrees of Freedom,” In Proceedings of IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC 2019), pp. 217-222, 2019 【Award Nominated Paper】
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