The soft robotic glove has potential applications beyond instruments, helping users relearn complex dexterous tasks

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

July 12, 2023

2 Min Read
The soft robotic glove integrates five actuators into a single wearable device that conforms to the user's hand
Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science

A new robotic glove has been designed to help stroke sufferers regain crucial motor functions in their hands.

Developed by a team from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, the robot acts like a soft hand exoskeleton and uses flexible tactile sensors, soft actuators and AI to stimulate movement in a wearer’s hand.

The new design was demonstrated by helping users play the piano. 

"Playing the piano requires complex and highly skilled movements, and relearning tasks involves the restoration and retraining of specific movements or skills," said Erik Engeberg, senior author of the study. "Our robotic glove is composed of soft, flexible materials and sensors that provide gentle support and assistance to individuals to relearn and regain their motor abilities."

The glove monitors and responds to a wearer’s movements, adjusting in real time to make it easier for a user to perform the correct hand actions. 

To demonstrate the design, the researchers programmed it to identify the difference between correct and incorrect versions of "Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano. The tune was programmed with 12 different errors and the glove was tested both independently and while worn by a player. 

Results showed the glove effectively identified when the song was played incorrectly or out of time. 

The researchers said the findings showed the glove can help stroke sufferers relearn dexterous tasks, with potential applications beyond playing instruments.

"Our design is significantly simpler than most designs as all the actuators and sensors are combined into a single molding process," said Engeberg. "Importantly, although this study's application was for playing a song, the approach could be applied to myriad tasks of daily life and the device could facilitate intricate rehabilitation programs customized for each patient."

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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