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19 Jan 2023 - 21 Jan 2023

Exoskeleton Glove Mimics User’s Grasp Movements

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Jun 2021
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Image: The Ironhand 2.0 exoskeleton glove (Photo courtesy of Bioservo Technologies)
Image: The Ironhand 2.0 exoskeleton glove (Photo courtesy of Bioservo Technologies)
An updated exoskeleton glove helps reduce the occurrence of hand-related repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) in industrial workplaces.

The Bioservo Technologies (Stockholm, Sweden) Ironhand 2.0 is designed to provide extra strength and endurance to a workers gripping movement, thus helping to reduce the risk musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in works in industries that are prone to RSIs due to repetitive, injury-inducing tasks. The glove is complemented by the IronConnect Pro app, which collects information from the glove when it is in use and summarizes that data into ergonomic risk assessment reports in order to track potential risks of injury and help prevent them.

The smart, active, exoskeleton glove is activated when the operator starts moving their hand to perform a task, using sensors located on the palm and in the fingers' tips and middle phalanges. To improve the glove's functionality through machine learning (ML), the glove learns from the user, and after a while it can finish a movement or grip at just the slightest flick of the user's fingers, having learned how the operator moves their hand before and during a certain task. As the system is connected to the internet through 4G or Wi-Fi, it continuously sends collected data that can be analyzed.

The data is used by IronConnect Pro, a sophisticated application designed to oversee the usage of the glove and maximize benefit through the optimization of the glove's settings and data. IronConnect Pro can be used with both iOS and Android. The application provides information on when the glove is in use and where, who is using it, what grips are being performed, and more. Additionally, the app analyzes the data in order to create ergonomic risk assessment reports that identify if the operator is in danger of an RSI before it happens, enabling proactive action to prevent the injury before it occurs.

“We have opened up for using Ironhand in many more applications and work tasks by adding and improving sensors, increasing the speed, and creating a more natural force transfer, making it easier to activate when performing a diverse set of movements,” said Petter Bäckgren, CEO of Bioservo. “In addition to this, we have improved the user experience and comfort with carry solutions that are much easier to put on and adjust for an optimal fit.”

RSIs can be caused by a variety of work conditions, including computer use. For example, prolonged exposure to cold and vibration can be aggravating to the hands. For example, a construction worker who uses power tools every day or someone who works outside in the winter may be more prone to injury. A common RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome, a median entrapment neuropathy that causes paresthesia, pain, numbness, and other symptoms in the distribution of the median nerve.

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