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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.

Professor Robert Sanner demonstrates Power Glove at Space Systems Lab.
Power Glove being tested by astronaut at NASA Johnson Space Center.

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