Researchers Develop Electronic Glove with Humanlike Features for Better Prosthetic Hand Experience
Denrie Caila Perez posted on October 02, 2019 |
An electronic glove, or e-glove, developed by Purdue University researchers can be worn over a prosthetic hand to provide humanlike softness, warmth, appearance, and sensory perception. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University.)
An electronic glove, or e-glove, developed by Purdue University researchers can be worn over a prosthetic hand to provide humanlike softness, warmth, appearance, and sensory perception. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University.)

Researchers from Purdue University developed what they call an electronic glove or ‘e-glove’ that can mimic humanlike qualities and sensory perception. While current conventional prosthetics focus primarily on restoring mobility, the e-glove improves the experience by including realistic human hand-like features.

Transitioning to the use of prosthetics can have significant effects on a person’s mental health. Persons with hand amputations can find difficulty in returning to normal everyday tasks in spite of the use of prosthetics. According to Lee and his team, the e-glove is intended to make users feel more comfortable in social contexts.

“The prosthetic end user could be any prosthetic hand users who have felt uncomfortable wearing current prosthetic hands, especially in many social contexts,” Lee says.

The e-glove is designed to have the softness, warmth, and appearance similar to a human hand. What makes this prosthetic technology unique is its capability to sense pressure, temperature, and hydration.

“We developed a novel concept of the soft-packaged, sensor-instrumented e-glove built on a commercial nitrile glove allowing it to seamlessly fit on arbitrary hands,” says Chi Hwan Le, assistant professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering and the core engineer on the technology. “The e-glove is configured with a stretchable form of multimodal sensors to collect various information such as pressure, temperature, humidity, and electrophysiological biosignals, while simultaneously providing realistic human hand-like softness, appearance and even warmth.”

The team intended for the e-glove to function and feel as much as a human hand which is why they included lifelike fingerprints and artificial fingernails as well. Additionally, the developers made the e-glove available in various skin tone colors.

Thin, flexible electronic sensors and miniaturized silicon-based circuit chips can be found on the nitrile glove. The glove is then connected to a specially-designed wristwatch that can display sensory data in real-time. This also allows for easy remote transmission during post-data processing. For more information on how the e-glove is engineered, watch the video below.


Researchers from Purdue University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Texas worked on the development of the e-glove. Details of the development process can be found in the August 30 edition of NPG Asia Materials.

The team is currently seeking partners to collaborate with in clinical trials or experts in the prosthetics field to validate the e-glove’s technology and to continue optimizing the glove’s design.

“My group is devoted to developing various wearable biomedical devices, and my ultimate goal is to bring these technologies out of the lab and help many people in need. This research represents my continued efforts in this context,” says Lee.

For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, you may contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org.

For more on the latest advancements, check out how electronic skin is developed towards improving prosthetic design here.


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