A Bioinspired Lightweight Wrist for High-DoF Robotic Prosthetic Arms

Namho Kim, Seongseop Yun, Dongjun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The prosthetic arms generally face several challenges: most critically, they are not lightweight to the users and do not provide full degrees of freedom (DoF) for the arms. In order to address this problem, we propose a novel bioinspired lightweight and high-DoF wrist for prosthetic arms. The proposed robotic wrist is lightweight, albeit more dexterous by simplifying the human wrist structure into a two-row ellipsoid joint and implementing novel ligament routing. The two-row ellipsoid structure effectively reduces the weight of the full-DoF wrist within sufficient ranges of motion required for its mobility. A novel routing-by-ligament tunnel allows for the employment of stiffer ligaments in a compact structure, thereby securing the full DoF of the wrist without compromising its load capacity. We conducted a musculoskeletal simulation to show that the bioinspired wrist helps to increase the energy efficiency of the entire upper limb. Our experimental results demonstrated that the proposed wrist greatly reduces the weight of the entire prosthetic arm while improving its range of motion, tensile stiffness, and the control performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8836522
Pages (from-to)2674-2683
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received August 30, 2018; revised February 13, 2019 and May 23, 2019; accepted July 28, 2019. Date of publication September 13, 2019; date of current version December 31, 2019. Recommended by Technical Editor J. Yu. This work was supported in part by the Convergence Technology Development Program for bionic arm funded by the Korea Government (MSIT) (NRF-2017M3C1B2085321) and in part by the Chung-Ang University Graduate Research Scholarship in 2017. (Corresponding author: Dongjun Shin.) The authors are with the Mechanical Engineering, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, South Korea (e-mail:,ko7006@cau.ac.kr; wsxde1234 @cau.ac.kr; djshin@cau.ac.kr).

Publisher Copyright:
© 1996-2012 IEEE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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