A powered finger-thumb wearable hand exoskeleton with self-aligning joint axes

Marco Cempini, Mario Cortese, Nicola Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, the robotic research area has become extremely prolific in terms of wearable active exoskeletons for human body motion assistance, with the presentation of many novel devices, for upper limbs, lower limbs, and the hand. The hand shows a complex morphology, a high intersubject variability, and offers limited space for physical interaction with a robot: as a result, hand exoskeletons usually are heavy, cumbersome, and poorly usable. This paper introduces a novel device designed on the basis of human kinematic compatibility, wearability, and portability criteria. This hand exoskeleton, briefly HX, embeds several features as underactuated joints, passive degrees of freedom ensuring adaptability and compliance toward the hand anthropometric variability, and an ad hoc design of self-alignment mechanisms to absorb human/robot joint axes misplacement, and proposes a novel mechanism for the thumb opposition. The HX kinematic design and actuation are discussed together with theoretical and experimental data validating its adaptability performances. Results suggest that HX matches the self-alignment design goal and is then suited for close human-robot interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6808476
Pages (from-to)705-716
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Design
  • exoskeleton
  • finger
  • hand
  • mechanic
  • self-alignment
  • thumb
  • wearability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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