April 25, 2012

At the "Hannover Messe" industrial trade fair this year a man poses with the 'ExoHand' is attracting attention. German engineering firm, Festo, has developed this mechanical exo-skeleton called ExoHand.


ExoHand can be worn like a glove and doubles the hand's gripping power. It is customized to fit the hand of the individual user and can be opened and closed as a human's hand. Festo says it could increase productivity for factory workers or help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients.

According to Festo spokesman Heinrich Frontzek, it's an intriguing example of what future automation will look like. Through sensors in the glove the operator's hand movements are detected and transmitted to the robotic hand in real time. The key to the technology is air pressure.

"First of all the ExoHand is a glove which one slips into. And at the back of the glove there is a special power booster built in (the glove). That is done with little air cylinders that give power to every single finger through pressured air that is blown into it. Through that we can reach a doubling of the grip force." said Heinrich Frontzek.

The exoskeleton is produced on the basis of a 3D scan of the user's hand and then manufactured from polyamide in the selective laser sintering (SLS) process. There are eight pneumatic actuators that move the mechanical fingers.

ExoHand is a great contribution to the human-machine interaction which might inspire other automization companies to engineer some amazing automated hands.

Photo credit/source: Festo/reuters


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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