Space Suit Glove Pressure Garment Metacarpal Joint and Robotic Hand Analysis
Spacesuit glove pressure garments have been a design challenge for NASA since the inception of spacesuits. The human hand demands a complex range of motions, a close fit, an ease of movement, and a lack of bulk that is at odds with the engineering and durability requirements of an inflated safety garment. While precision motions of the fingers are relatively well met by NASA's current I.L.C./Phase VI gloves, the torque required for more gross power grips such as translating along bars or grasping tools is significant. This torque comes not from the individual fingers or phalange-phalange joints, but at the joint between the fingers and the palm, or the metacarpal-phalangeal joint.In addition, this motion is difficult to precisely measure. The human hand is capable of omni-directional multifaceted movements that are challenging to mimic robotically. In addition, the presence of a human wearer makes the measurement impossible to repeat accurately, but it is required to adequately reproduce the movements of the glove.FFD in collaboration with The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) propose to develop a glove pattering specific to the bending of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint, and a robotic instrument suitable to measure this torque. This will lead to even more functional glove pressure garments, and to a more refined way of measuring them.
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