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A haptic knob for rehabilitation of hand function.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 119260, Singapore.


This paper describes a novel two-degree-of-freedom robotic interface to train opening/closing of the hand and knob manipulation. The mechanical design, based on two parallelogram structures holding an exchangeable button, offers the possibility to adapt the interface to various hand sizes and finger orientations, as well as to right-handed or left-handed subjects. The interaction with the subject is measured by means of position encoders and four force sensors located close to the output measuring grasping and insertion forces. Various knobs can be mounted on the interface, including a cone mechanism to train a complete opening movement from a strongly contracted and closed hand to a large opened position. We describe the design based on measured biomechanics, the redundant safety mechanisms as well as the actuation and control architecture. Preliminary experiments show the performance of this interface and some of the possibilities it offers for the rehabilitation of hand function.

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