1, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
3, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
The human hand is one of the foremost part of the body and serves as a versatile physical instrument for daily activity. Therefore, any disfigurement of the hand significantly affects the people’s quality of life, often resulting in mental health problems with accompanying depression, anxiety, social isolation, or even suicidal ideation. Current evidence-based interventions involve using prosthetic hands as a supplementary movement aid to restore vital mobility. Recent developments of sensor-laden prosthetics and artificial electronic skin provide valuable capabilities to sense external stimuli, thereby replicating the humanlike sensory perception. Despite these technological advances, the devices suffer from rigid and semi-flexible sensor platform and difficulty in seamless integration of electronic skin with pre-existing prosthetic hands, leading to poor physical bonding and continued disfigurement. Moreover, the price of these instrumented prosthetics remains consistently high due to the expensive materials used and small numbers produced, limiting their wide use and adoption in low-income settings. This talk outlines materials, mechanics and design features for an innovative multifunctional smart electronic glove (or simply e-glove) that can be easily worn onto arbitrary prosthetic hands to simultaneously replicate the humanlike sensory perception, appearance, skin compliance, and body warmth in a simple, inexpensive manner. A demonstrative e-glove system includes mechanically stretchable multimodal sensors that can detect changes in temperature, pressure, and hydration in a wireless fashion. Experimental and theoretical analyses reveal the underlying mechanics of the e-glove during prosthetic fitting and use.