Touchback Sensor Glove For Prosthetic Hand Users

Sensor Glove measuring pressure and aperture For Prosthetic Hand Users

Within the Touchback project we envisioned to bridge the control loop between prosthetic hands and its users, who only rely on visual clues to drive their prosthetic hands. 2M partnered with a company specialized in prosthetic hands. Within the Touchback project 2M’s focus was on the creation of a sensor glove that provided the essential information about pressure of the gripped objects and aperture of the fingers. Our partner focus was to feedback the information from the gripped objects to the end-user in a seamless way.

Touchback Sensor Glove For Prosthetic Hand Users
Touchback Sensor Glove For Prosthetic Hand Users
Printed electronics hand pressure and aperture tracking

Sensor Glove Based on Printed & Flexible electronics

Within the Touchback project we explored various technology routes to come up with the best technical approach. Initial focus was on measuring the pressure of the fingers and the aperture of the pointing finger and thumb. Although this path is promising, we decided focus on solutions that are easier to industrialize and produce.

The solution depicted here measures pressure using customized FSR sensors and measures the bend with a flexible resistor. The meandering structure is present to deal with the length variation of the finger.

Proof of Concept Demonstrator

Within the Touchback project we realized a demonstrator of a sensing solution that measures pressure and aperture of 2-3 fingers optimized for prosthetic hands. This was the minimal viable sensing solution as required by the client. This sensor solution is going to be designed as a extension of the prosthetic hand so was therefore not optimized for size at this stage.

The sensors are integrated in the finger hoods and communicate via the unit on the hand wirelessly to a smartphone or PC using Bluetooth Low Energy.

As you might notice the aperture sensing based on purely magnetic sensors is disturbed somewhat by the metals in the prosthetic hand. On human hands performance is more precise.

For this specific client easiness for the user (no calibration required) and a solution that works out of the box was a must, where high precision was a less stringent requirement.