Space Systems Lab
University of Maryland
Power-Assisted Space Suit Glove
The current space suit glove design places a significant encumbrance on common
dexterous hand motions due to the tendency of the pressurized glove to return to
the preferred neutral orientation. Working against the spring-like restoring
torques which arise when the glove is moved from this neutral position is
particularly tiring for wrist and forearm muscles, resulting in discomfort and
loss of productivity. To combat this fatigue problem, the University of Maryland
Space Systems Laboratory together with the space suit manufacturer ILC Dover,
Inc. have developed a unique, self-contained "power-assist" actuation system
which facilitates gloved motion of the major hand joint, the metacarpophalangeal.
The new actuator sits unobtrusively on the dorsal side of the glove, and provides
torque to counterbalance those induced by the pressurized glove, enabling near
"nude-body" hand mobility with reduced arm fatigue.