In March 2018, Bioservo Technologies launched the Ironhand® the successor to their soft powered glove for work and industry. Bioservo bills the Ironhand as the world’s first robotic muscle strengthening system for professional use. The design goal is to reduce fatigue and injury due to the repetition of the same grip motion.
The Ironhand is based on the company’s patent portfolio on SEM™ (Soft Extra Muscle) technology. Similar to the original SEM Glove, this new version provides augmentative force to the user’s fingers. The Ironhand introduces some changes and improvements compared to its predecessor:
- The battery and controller have been moved from the belt to an over the shoulder pouch.
- The adjustor buttons have been separated from the battery pack and are much bigger and easier to access. The power augmentation adjustor is now much larger and the power level easier to see.
- Data from the peripheral sensors that control the glove can now be collected and connected to an app, making it much easier to digitize and categorize the use of the glove and assess injury risk and mitigation.
- The Ironhand no longer sports a three-finger design but is now a full glove. The detachment point plate is also nowhere to be seen.
The focus of the Ironhand is force augmentation and prevention of strain injuries in the workplace. The company also launched the Carbonhand® which focuses on assisting individuals with weakened hand strength.
Research and development on hand exoskeletons continue to be split in four different directions based on the interface between the human hand, glove, and linkages. Linkages can be:
- rigid: usually made of metal or plastic
- cable drive: Bowden-Cables, wires, nylon lines or similar
- inflatable: reinforced bladders or molded silicon
- passive: linear or coiled springs
The Ironhand belongs to the cable-driven class of exoskeleton gloves. All types of powered and passive gloves have their advantages and disadvantages, but Bioservo is second to none in popularizing and commercializing cable-driven power gloves.
Previous Coverage of Bioservo Technologies
Bioservo Technologies (publ) launches Ironhand® – the world’s first soft robotic muscle strengthening system, Bioservo Press Release, March 27, 2018, http://www.bioservo.se/investor-relations/press-2/pressmeddelanden/?pressId=2862026
Ironhand® is Launching, YouTube, Bioservo Technologies, March 25, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XLTlhtnK5Q