Towards a Low-Cost Robotic Hand for Upper-Limb Prosthetic Applications

C. Pasluosta, H. Tims, and A. Chiu (USA)


Manipulators, bioscience applications, prosthetic hand, control, biomimetic robotics.


The main purpose of this work is to reduce the high cost associated with limb replacement. This paper presents the control strategy of a low-cost robotic hand for prosthetic applications. The hand works in combination with an electromyographic signal classifier which detects the intended motion of the user. This information is supplied to the control system of the robotic hand to safely and effectively perform the grasping tasks. A prototype of the hand used for testing the proposed control methodology is described. It is an improvement of a previous prototype consisting on a five finger underactuated hand driven by inexpensive DC motors and equipped with low-cost sensors. Subsequently, the different stages of the control strategy are presented. In order to overcome the limitations of using inexpensive components, the control system must be able to handle the nonlinearities associated with them. We have designed a control methodology to modulate the grasping force based on slippage detection and nonlinear force control. Preliminary tests performed on the prototype showed that it is able to successfully conform to different object shapes and handle changes in object weights.

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