• Byungchul Kim, Kyubum Kim, Sejin Jeong, Kyu-Jin Cho, “Exo-Glove Shell: A Hybrid Exo-Glove for the Thumb Opposition with an Under-Actuated Tendon-Driven System,” in preparation.

*Only limited contents are included in this page because the research has not yet been published. This page will be updated later. For more information, please see [Supplementary Site] prepared for the peer review.

Effect of robot compliance on robot usability and functionality

The compliance of robot is also a well-known factor that affects the robot functionality and usability. In general, the wearable robot can be categorized into 1) rigid wearable robot; and 2) soft wearable robot. The characteristics of these robots are as below:

  1. The rigid wearable robots usually have a well-defined kinematic structure. It means that the robots have their own joints. When using the rigid wearable robots, the user can feel uncomfortable or in sever cases, may be injured if the robot joint does not match with the human joint. Therefore it is important to design a joint alignment mechanism that aligns the robot joints with human joints. However, in most of cases, the joint alignment mechanism occupies large volume and harms the robot usability. Although the rigid wearable robot is more complicated and less usable, this kind of robots have advantages in accurate force transmission. Since the kinematic relationship between the robot and the human body is well-defined, we can calculate posture or force applied to the user easily when these robots are used. For this reason, rigid wearable robots are being used well for rehabilitation purposes rather than assisting purposes.

  2. The soft wearable robots does not have any kinematic structure. Therefore, the joint alignment mechanism used in the rigid wearable robot is not required. For this reason, the soft wearable robots have high usability with compact wearing part. However, in the soft wearable robots, the force transmission from the robot to human body is not accurate because the robot itself is easy to deform. In addition, since the soft wearable robots are not fabricated with conventional robot fabrication methods (e.g., CNC, 3D printer, laser cutting), the fabrication process of the soft wearable robot (e.g., sewing, molding) is relatively complicated.

Smmarizing the above robot characteristics, it can be seen that the rigid wearable robot has high functions but low usability, whereas the software wearable robot shows the opposite. For this reason, I have tried to use both rigid and soft components in designing the wearable robot. Since the rigid part of the robot seems similar to the shell, I named this robot design as Exo-Glove Shell; the detail information can be found in the Exo-Glove Shell page.