The Tenoexo hand exoskeleton can help someone with a broad range of hand impairments to grip objects using several different control options.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the Tenoexo Hand Exoskeleton
- Grip Patterns & Control System
- Proportional Force
- Sensory Feedback
- Size & Weight
- Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- Glove Options
- User Software
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying a Tenoexo Hand Exoskeleton
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the Tenoexo Hand Exoskeleton
The Tenoexo is not yet a commercial product. It is the result of a research collaboration between the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory of ETH Zurich, Professor Jumpei Arata of Kyushu University in Japan, and Professor Gregory Fischer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA.
The following video provides a good overview of a recent version of the Tenoexo. Note, however, that the use of a myoelectric armband to control the device has been discontinued because it was not robust enough for daily assistance.
We describe individual features in the relevant sections below but observe how a) this device will physically move your digits, and b) how gently it does this. These two features are connected. The more you allow an assistive hand device to force digits to open/close, the more careful you have to be to avoid injuring those digits.
Grip Patterns & Control System
Tenoexo either has or is exploring various control mechanisms. These include buttons (i.e. large push buttons, bite buttons, sip-and-puff), voice control, and the use of a sensor glove linking the touch of an object to the intention to grasp it (see the Carbonhand for another assistive device that uses pressure sensors like this).
Regardless of the control method, a slider on the back of the Tenoexo is used to manually position the thumb. The diverse positioning of the thumb is what gives the Tenoexo the ability to perform multiple grip patterns, as demonstrated in the first half of this video (this repeats some of the preceding video’s footage but, this time, pay special attention to the thumb):
When attempting to grasp an object, Tenoexo uses a compliant 3-layered sliding spring mechanism to passively adapt to the shape of an object.
Tenoexo does not currently offer proportional force. With such a low maximum grip force, this is not as pressing a requirement as it is with bionic hands, which can sometimes exert too much force for certain tasks.
Tenoexo does not offer sensory feedback because the natural hand remains intact and usually provides adequate sensory feedback on its own.
Size & Weight
Tenoexo’s hand module weighs only 148 grams. Its myoelectric armband weighs 93 grams, and its backpack (with actuators and onboard computer) weighs 560 grams.
The Tenoexo’s hand module can be adapted to match the size of an individual user’s hand. For a “standard” medium-sized adult hand, the dimensions of the hand module are roughly 300 × 110 × 25 mm3 including the thumb. In general, the device extends from the lower portion of the forearm to just beyond the fingertips and adds a maximum of 2 cm of height to the back of the hand.
The backpack dimensions are 217 x 104 × 35 mm3
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The Tenoexo can only lift 1/2 kilogram. It generates a grip force of only 4.5 Newtons per finger. By comparison, the average maximum grip force for women is 292 Newtons, and, for men, 517 Newtons. The average grip force used in daily activities is 70 Newtons.
In other words, the Tenoexo is currently designed for light-duty tasks only.
We do not yet have any information on the durability of the Tenoexo. Normally, we rely on the results of our user satisfaction surveys to gauge durability. Absent that, we refer to the terms of the warranty. But since the Tenoexo is not yet a commercial product, neither of these information sources is available to us.
Water and Dust Resistance
Tenoexo’s hand module is free of electronics and is thus considered dust-resistant and protected against spraying water. An official IP rating has not yet been established for the device.
A specially designed glove can be used to attach the Tenoexo to the hand, though we do not yet have any video footage of this. Researchers are also working on additional attachment systems that will allow the use of commercial gloves.
Batteries of different sizes and capacities can be connected via the Tenoexo’s power cable. A standard set of battery options has not yet been determined for the commercial version of the Tenoexo.
The Tenoexo does have an Android application that allows users to do the following:
- change the force range and closing speed;
- select between two grasp types;
- configure the control system/intention detection strategies.
We will post a video of this application as soon as one is available.
As the Tenoexo is not yet a commercial product, its eventual price has not yet been established.
For a complete list of prices for other assistive robotic gloves, please see our Assistive Robotic Glove Price List.
Again, as this is still a prototype, we do not yet have any information on the official launch date for the Tenoexo or the geographic availability at launch. Current estimates are that the launch date may still be a few years away.
Again, as this is still a prototype, we do not yet have any information on the Tenoexo’s eventual warranty policy.
User Feedback Survey & Results
We have not yet created a survey for the Tenoexo and won’t do so until it is released commercially.
Without a survey, there are of course no survey results.
Considerations Before Buying a Tenoexo Hand Exoskeleton
We don’t have any opinion of the Tenoexo at this time, though the main consideration when it’s released commercially will be the absence of a track record with consumers.
For a list of competitor devices, see current options for assistive robotic gloves.
For a comprehensive description of all assistive robotic glove technologies, devices, and research, see our complete guide.
Click here for more information on the Tenoexo research project.