Biomechanical analysis of the effect of finger joint configuration on hand grasping performance: rigid vs flexible

Yuyang Wei, Zhenmin Zou, Zhihui Qian, Lei Ren, Guowu Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human finger joints are conventionally simplified as rigid joints in robotic hand design and biomechanical hand modelling, due to their anatomic and morphologic complexity. However, our understanding of the effect of the finger joint configuration on the resulting hand performance is still primitive. In this study, we systematically investigate the grasping performance of the hands with the conventional rigid joints and the biomechanical flexible joints based on a computational human hand model. The measured muscle electromyography (EMG) and hand kinematic data during grasping are used as inputs for the grasping simulations. The results show that the rigid joint configuration currently used in most robotic hands leads to large reductions in hand contact force, contact pressure and contact area, compared to the flexible joint configuration. The grasping quality could be reduced up to 40% and 36% by the rigid joint configuration in terms of algebraic properties of grasping matrix and finger force limit respectively. Further investigation reveals that these reductions are caused by the weak rotational stiffness of the rigid joint configuration. This study implies that robotic/prosthetic hand performance could be improved by exploiting flexible finger joint design. Hand contact parameters and grasping performance may be underestimated by the rigid joint simplification in human hand modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Early online date14 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2022


  • Biological system modeling
  • Biomechanics
  • Finger joint configuration
  • Grasping
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Robots
  • Thumb
  • finger dexterity
  • finite element human hand model
  • grasping quality


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