Upper limb prosthetics are currently operated using several electromyography sensors mounted on an amputee’s residual limb. In order for any prosthetic driving interface to be widely adopted, it needs to be responsive, lightweight, and out of the way when not being used. In this paper we discuss the possibility of replacing such electrodes with fingernail optical sensor systems mounted on the sound limb. We present a prototype device that can detect pinch gestures and communicate with the prosthetic system. The device detects the relative position of fingers to each other by measuring light transmitted via tissue. Applications are not limited to prosthetic control, but can be extended to other human-machine interfaces.
A novel system is presented to control a powered prosthetic device using a gesture tracking system worn on a user’s sound hand in order to detect different grasp patterns. Experiments are presented with two different gesture tracking systems: one comprised of Conductive Thimbles worn on each finger (Conductive Thimble system), and another comprised of a glove which leaves the fingers free (Conductive Glove system). Timing tests were performed on the selection and execution of two grasp patterns using the Conductive Thimble system and the iPhone app provided by the manufacturer. A modified Box and Blocks test was performed using Conductive Glove system and the iPhone app provided by Touch Bionics. The best prosthetic device performance is reported with the developed Conductive Glove system in this test. Results show that these low encumbrance gesture-based wearable systems for selecting grasp patterns may provide a viable alternative to EMG and other prosthetic control modalities, especially for new prosthetic users who are not trained in using EMG signals.