Exoskeleton for the hand? The future is not too far

   The EPFL design of hand exoskeleton

The EPFL design of hand exoskeleton

Exoskeletons that enable individuals with mobility impairments to walk again have been around for several years now though they are mostly for individuals with trunk control (paraplegics).  But there are finally several companies trying to provide the same type of technology for the function of hands.

   The NeoMano Robotic Glove

The NeoMano Robotic Glove

A hand exoskeleton that can be controlled by brainwaves is a lightweight and portable device being developed in the Geneva lab of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and can restore functional grasps for those with physical impairments. 

Another company, Neofect, from South Korea, showed off a prototype of its NeoMano Robotic Glove at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.  It’s made of leather and looks a bit like an archery glove that covers just the thumb, index and middle finger.  It has titanium wires that can move those three fingers to perform tasks such as picking up a glass, holding a toothbrush or gripping a door knob.

Exo-Glove-Poly.jpg

The third group developing its own version is the BioRobotics Laboratory at the Seoul National University in South Korea.  They have developed the Exo-Glove Poly that's worn on three fingers with a pulley system for smooth hand motion.  You can watch their video here.

To be certain, a quick web search revealed numerous applications of an exoskeleton version for hand which demonstrates a large number of organizations chasing after this concept.  While it has an appealing application for individuals with hand impairment, there are many other industrial applications for the use of such device which should result in a quicker availability of this groundbreaking discovery.