Faculty Advisor

Ault, Holly Keyes

Faculty Advisor

Hoffman, Allen H.


The goal of this project was to design and manufacture a fully functional powered hand orthosis, controlled and operated by the contralateral hand, and used by people with diminished hand functions. Linear actuators were used to create the movement of the fingers through a six-bar linkage. The design reduces the twenty seven degrees of freedom in a healthy human hand to six and replicates the motions needed to perform the most common grips including the cylindrical, pinch, and key grips. Results showed that a single finger could exert a force of 50N. This correlates to an approximate hand strength of 200N, which was felt to be sufficient for most ADL’s. Overall, this orthotic device increases the hand’s strength and functionality for the user and increases their quality of life.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2013


Mechanical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering