Prosthetic hands return mobility and functionality to people with hand amputations, but the loss of feeling and social discomfort associated with prosthetics take a toll on the quality of life. Engineers at Purdue University recently published a report in NPG Asia Material on the technology incorporated in an electronic glove designed to be worn over a prosthetic hand.

The Purdue e-glove adds a layer of thin, flexible, multimodal electronic sensors and circuit chips to nitrile gloves. The glove has artificial fingernails, fingerprints, and is available in different skin tones. A purpose-built smartwatch displays real-time sensory data which it also transmits for later processing.

The e-glove resembles a human hand with realistic softness and warmth. The sensors detect and report data including pressure, temperature, humidity, and electrophysical biosignals.

Currently seeking collaborative partners for clinical trials, the Purdue researchers state the e-glove fabrication is cost-effect and suitable for high volume manufacturing. The target users are people who feel uncomfortable in social contexts wearing conventional prosthetic hands.