The objective of the work describe in this paper is to develop an artificial hand aimed at replicating the appearance and performance of the natural hand the ultimate goal of this research is to obtain a complete functional substitution of the natural hand. This means that the artificial hand should be felt by the user as the part of his/her own body (extended physiological proprioception(EPP) ) and it should provide the user with the same functions of natural hand: tactile exploration, grasping , and manipulation (â€œcyberneticâ€ prosthesis). Commercially available prosthetic devices, as well as multifunctional hand designs have good (sometimes excellent) reliability and robustness, but their grasping capabilities can be improved. It has been demonstrated the methodologies and knowledge developed for robotic hands can be apologies and knowledge developed for robotic hands can be applied to the domain of prosthetics to augment final performance.
The first significant example of an artificial hand designed according to a robotic approach is the Belgrade/USC Hand. Afterwards, several robotic grippers and articulated hands have been developed, for example the Stanford/JPL hand and the Utah/MIT hand which have achieved excellent results. An accurate description and a comparative analysis of state of the art of artificial hands can be found in. These hands have achieved good performance in mimicking human capabilities, but they are complex devices requiring large controllers and their mass and size are not compatible with the strict requirements of prosthetic hands.
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