Case Study: Grip Glove

This case study describes the design of a soft robotic device for grasping assistance and is based on work carried out by Cappello et al. (2018).

Clinical Need

As discussed in the PneuNets glove case study, loss of grasping ability is a significant problem which negatively impacts quality of life in patients. The aim of the project described here is to provide a device that can be worn comfortably all day and assist the user in activities of daily living. 


The proposed solution is a glove that consists of 5 dual-action textile actuators to assist in closing and opening the hand. The resulting device weighs less than 100g and can be worn for long periods of time without bothering the user. Each actuator has two tubes, one for the flexion balloon and one for the extension balloon. These tubes run to a control box that has nearly the same components as the fluidic control board reconfigured compactly into a portable box.

Shown below is a clinical trial where EMG sensing electrodes were placed on the muscles that close (flexor digitorium superficialis) and open (extensor digitorium communis) the hand. The subject goes through the same motions with and without the glove on. The following figure displays muscle activity during these exercises. Notice that there is a significant decrease in muscle activity to produce the same closing and opening motions when the subject is wearing the glove as opposed to when the subject is not wearing the glove.

See the Grip Glove in action here!