Purdue University researchers have developed an electronic glove, or e-glove, that can be worn over a prosthetic hand to provide humanlike softness, warmth, appearance and sensory perception, such as the ability to sense pressure, temperature and hydration.
The e-glove, which uses thin, flexible electronic sensors and miniaturized silicon-based circuit chips, is connected to a specially designed wristwatch, allowing for real-time display of sensory data and remote transmission to the user for post-data processing.
Chi Hwan Lee, an assistant professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering, in collaboration with other researchers at Purdue, the University of Georgia and the University of Texas, worked on the development of the e-glove technology.
“We developed a novel concept of the soft-packaged, sensor-instrumented e-glove built on a commercial nitrile glove, allowing it to seamlessly fit on arbitrary hand shapes,” says Chi Hwan Lee, an assistant professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering, who developed the e-glove in collaboration with other researchers at Purdue, the University of Georgia and the University of Texas.
“The e-glove is configured with a stretchable form of multimodal sensors to collect various information such as pressure, temperature, humidity and electrophysiological biosignals, while simultaneously providing realistic human hand-like softness, appearance and even warmth,” he adds, in a media release from Purdue University.
Lee and his team hope that the appearance and capabilities of the e-glove will improve the well-being of prosthetic hand users by allowing them to feel more comfortable in social contexts. The glove is available in different skin tone colors and has lifelike fingerprints and artificial fingernails.
“The prospective end user could be any prosthetic hand users who have felt uncomfortable wearing current prosthetic hands, especially in many social contexts,” Lee states.
The fabrication process of the e-glove is cost-effective and manufacturable in high volume, making it an affordable option for users, unlike other emerging technologies with mind, voice and muscle control embedded within the prosthetic at a high cost, the researchers suggest, in the release. Additionally, they say, these emerging technologies do not provide the humanlike features that the e-glove provides.
Lee and Min Ku Kim, an engineering doctoral student at Purdue and a co-author on the paper, have worked to patent the technology with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
“My group is devoted to developing various wearable biomedical devices, and my ultimate goal is to bring these technologies out of the lab and help many people in need. This research represents my continued efforts in this context,” Lee shares.
[Source(s): Purdue University, EurekAlert]