Mechanical aspects of robot hands, active hand orthoses and prostheses: A comparative review

J. Vertongen, Derek G. Kamper, G. Smit, H. Vallery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


The large interest in robot hands and active hand prostheses has in recent years been joined by that in active hand orthoses. Despite the differences in intended uses, these three categories of artificial hand devices share key characteristics. Examination of the commonalities could stimulate future design. Thus, in this article, we undertook a comparative review of publications describing robot hands, active prostheses, and active orthoses, with a focus on mechanical structure, actuation principle, and transmission. Out of a total of 510 papers identified through the literature search, 72 publications were included in a focused examination. We identified trends in the design of artificial hands and gaps in the literature. After comparing their mechanical aspects, we propose recommendations for future development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-965
JournalIEEE - ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Volume26 (2021)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Hands
  • robotics
  • prosthetics
  • orthotics
  • dexterity
  • Dexterity
  • Gands
  • Orthotics
  • Robotics
  • Prosthetics


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