Physiological studies of the human finger indicate that friction in the tendon-pulley system accounts for a considerable fraction of the total output force (9–12%) in a high-load static posteccentric configuration. Such a phenomenon can be exploited for robotic and prosthetic applications, as it can result in (1) an increase of output force or (2) a reduction of energy consumption and actuator weight. In this study, a simple frictional, two-link, one-degree-of-freedom model of a human finger was created. The model is validated against in vitro human finger data, and its behavior is examined with respect to select physiological parameters. The results point to clear benefits of incorporating friction in tendon-driven robotic fingers for actuator mass and output force. If it is indeed the case that the majority of high-load hand grasps are posteccentric, there is a clear benefit of incorporating friction in tendon-driven prosthetic hand replacements.

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