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Mechanical Sciences An open-access journal for theoretical and applied mechanics

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Mech. Sci., 2, 27-32, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
08 Feb 2011
The use of underactuation in prosthetic grasping
P. J. Kyberd, A. Clawson, and B. Jones Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 4A3, Canada
Abstract. Underactuation as a method of driving prosthetic hands has a long history. The pragmatic requirements of such a device to be light enough to be worn and used regularly have meant that any multi degree of freedom prosthetic hand must have fewer actuators than the usable degrees of freedom. Aesthetics ensures that while the hand needs five fingers, five actuators have considerable mass, and only in recent years has it even been possible to construct a practical anthropomorphic hand with five motors. Thus there is an important trade off as to which fingers are driven, and which joints on which fingers are actuated, and how the forces are distributed to create a functional device. This paper outlines some of the historical solutions created for this problem and includes those designs of recent years that are now beginning to be used in the commercial environment.

This paper was presented at the IFToMM/ASME International Workshop on Underactuated Grasping (UG2010), 19 August 2010, Montréal, Canada.

Citation: Kyberd, P. J., Clawson, A., and Jones, B.: The use of underactuation in prosthetic grasping, Mech. Sci., 2, 27-32, doi:10.5194/ms-2-27-2011, 2011.
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