German engineering firm, Festo, has developed a mechanical exo-skeleton that can be worn like a glove to increase productivity for factory workers or help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients.
The company is well known for its innovative automating technologies and says ExoHand is attracting attention at this year's Hanover Trade Fair.
The ExoHand uses pneumatic actuators on each finger to simulate the range of human finger movement. The actuators move the fingers so that they can be opened and closed.
According to Festo, the company that designed ExoHand, nonlinear control algorithms were implemented on a CoDeSys-compliant controller for precise orientation of individual finger joints. (A “CoDeSys-compliant controller” registers and processes the positional and force parameters. It regulates the pressures in cylinders to ensure the correct finger positions and forces.)
Further commenting on the design, Heinrich Frontzek, spokesman for Festo at the Hanover show, said that at the back of the glove is a power-booster built in; “That’s done with little air cylinders that give power to every single finger through pressurized air that’s blown into it. Through that, we can reach a doubling of the grip force.”