PowerGrasp – A Robotic Orthosis for Power Assistance

The common aim of the ‘Power Grasp’ project, is the development and evaluation of a soft-robotic arm-hand-finger-orthosis. It supports employees in their daily work by providing power assistance to prevent consequential health damages. Especially in assembly work or in the care sector, heavy manual tasks lead to severe physical burden. The ‘Power Grasp’ orthosis is intended to foresee movements of the arm, hand or finger, by measuring muscle activity and to explicitly support this movement by providing power assistance. Furthermore it is meant to detect muscle tiredness and subsequently adjust the support appropriately. Working with modern technical textiles with embedded electronic and pneumatic components, the orthosis shall provide a good fit and pleasant sensation.

In several participative workshops with potential users, needs, fears and wishes of the target group were investigated. Functional and aesthetic studies inspired the technical development. In the ongoing process we will evaluate a prototype in a field test.

Partners:
Schunk GmbH & Co. KG, Lauffen/Neckar
warmX GmbH, Apolda
Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg (associated Partner)

The project is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).



Concept of a pneumatic actuator for elbow support



Testing ideas for hand- and finger support