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Wearable Soft Fingers as Prosthetic Augmentation

Hand Development Kit is a platform that controls supernumerary soft robotic fingers to serve as prosthetic augmentation of the hand. The proposed soft fingers have several benefits over rigid mechanical systems – they are lightweight and compliant, and a single robotic part can undergo higher-dimensional actuation. The robotic fingers are driven by embedded tendon wires, with one end reeled onto servo motors. Each finger has two degree-of-freedoms motions.

The extra thumb can assist in touch interactions on a smartphone. The soft robotic thumb can perform touch gestures on the screen, including scrolling and navigating forward/backward. In addition to that, the robotic and a user’s thumbs can collaboratively perform multi-touch interactions such as zooming.

The robot can also help execute key combinations on a keyboard. Pressing keys such as shift, control, or alt, can be automated by the robotic finger, increasing efficiency and auto-correcting users’ mistakes

The additional fingers can hold and manipulate target objects while a user is operating on them. A good example would be soldering, in which we often need clamps to fix soldering targets. Using our robot, a circuit board can be held within the hand, as well as its orientation adjusted to afford an optimal setup for soldering.


Hu, Yuhan, Sang‑won Leigh, and Pattie Maes. ”Hand development kit: Soft robotic fingers as prosthetic augmentation of the hand.” Adjunct Publication of the 30th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST). 2017.

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