A Study of the Range of Motion of Human Fingers with Application to Anthropomorphic Designs

Jeff C. Becker, Nitish V Thakor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The multifingered human hand serves as a model for anthropomorphic manipulators and prosthetic devices [1]–[5]. In order to better guide the design of these devices, we present a study of the range of motion of human fingers. Following the work of Landsmeer [6] and Storace [7], we model the role of tendons in the actions of human fingers, and present the results of experimental studies on the range of motion of fingers in normal humans. Further study of disabled hands illustrates constraints imposed by deficient tendon mechanisms. The basic investigations of normal and disabled hands guide us in our design of tendon-based actuators for mechanized fingers. We present the design of a prototype finger actuated by a shape-memory alloy material serving as a tendon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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