Customization is an important issue for assistive gloves because it affects glove performance. In this study, we propose an assembly-based customizable soft pneumatic assistive glove, named Exo-Glove PM. Pneumatic soft robots generally consist of a single structure with embedded actuators. However, when assembled, the region where the assemblies are connected easily undergoes large stress concentration which leads to failure. To overcome this issue, we have developed a hybrid actuator module that combines a soft actuation structure and rigid joining methods. In general, rigid joining methods require a bulky design to enable easy assembly, but Exo-Glove PM is designed to create pathways for assembly tools to access the bolt heads by bending certain parts. This novel way of joining assemblies allows soft robots to be built of multiple parts while minimizing the volume. It ensures small module size and enables modules to cover a wide range of hand sizes; the distance between each module is matched to the length of the user’s phalanges using spacers. This approach allows users to customize the glove by assembly of standardized modules and maximizes the comfort and the performance of the glove without custom manufacturing and thus reduces costs.
Related papers and patents
Sung-Sik Yun, Brian Byunghyun Kang, and Kyu-Jin Cho. “Exo-Glove PM: An Easily Customizable Modularized Pneumatic Assistive Glove.” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, VOL. 2, NO. 3, July. 2017. [PDF]