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Title: Prosthetic finger phalanges with lifelike skin compliance for low-force social touching interactions
Authors: Cabibihan, J.-J. 
Pradipta, R. 
Ge, S.S. 
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Cabibihan, J.-J., Pradipta, R., Ge, S.S. (2011). Prosthetic finger phalanges with lifelike skin compliance for low-force social touching interactions. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 8 (1) : -. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Background: Prosthetic arms and hands that can be controlled by the user's electromyography (EMG) signals are emerging. Eventually, these advanced prosthetic devices will be expected to touch and be touched by other people. As realistic as they may look, the currently available prosthetic hands have physical properties that are still far from the characteristics of human skins because they are much stiffer. In this paper, different configurations of synthetic finger phalanges have been investigated for their skin compliance behaviour and have been compared with the phalanges of the human fingers and a phalanx from a commercially available prosthetic hand. Methods. Handshake tests were performed to identify which areas on the human hand experience high contact forces. After these areas were determined, experiments were done on selected areas using an indenting probe to obtain the force-displacement curves. Finite element simulations were used to compare the force-displacement results of the synthetic finger phalanx designs with that of the experimental results from the human and prosthetic finger phalanges. The simulation models were used to investigate the effects of (a) varying the internal topology of the finger phalanx and (b) varying different materials for the internal and external layers. Results and Conclusions. During handshake, the high magnitudes of contact forces were observed at the areas where the full grasping enclosure of the other person's hand can be achieved. From these areas, the middle phalanges of the (a) little, (b) ring, and (c) middle fingers were selected. The indentation experiments on these areas showed that a 2 N force corresponds to skin tissue displacements of more than 2 mm. The results from the simulation model show that introducing an open pocket with 2 mm height on the internal structure of synthetic finger phalanges increased the skin compliance of the silicone material to 235% and the polyurethane material to 436%, as compared to a configuration with a solid internal geometry. In addition, the study shows that an indentation of 2 N force on the synthetic skin with an open pocket can also achieve a displacement of more than 2 mm, while the finger phalanx from a commercially available prosthetic hand can only achieve 0.2 mm. © 2011 Cabibihan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Source Title: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
ISSN: 17430003
DOI: 10.1186/1743-0003-8-16
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