Exoskeleton Image
The light and easy-to-attach hand exoskeleton enables people to grasp objects following a stroke or accident. (Credit: EPFL)

Working closely with users and therapists, researchers have developed a light and easy-to-attach hand exoskeleton for people unable to grasp objects following a stroke or accident. The device has been successfully tested in several hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

The Emovo Grasp device consists of two patented, artificial tendons resembling thin cables inserted into a sheath. They attach along the back of the hand using silicon rings placed on each finger. The motor and the remote control, which lets the user adjust the force being applied, are in small, separate cases. This design frees up the palm of the hand and the tips of the fingers to maximize sensory input.

When activated by the user, the device applies light pressure on the index then the middle finger so that they each pivot and come into contact with an object. The hand automatically adjusts its grasp on even irregularly shaped objects to ensure the most natural movement possible.

Another button on the remote control gives the opposite command, so that the cables generate a pulling force that causes the fingers to straighten and release the object. The artificial, bio-inspired tendons are similar to the hand’s natural system of muscles and tendons.