The most recent generation of space suit EVA gloves has addressed the problem of loose fit and stiffness in the fingers, but it remains difficult to build a glove assembly with low metacarpophalangeal joint stiffness. Fatigue due to constantly displacing the glove from a neutral position has been reported as the limiting factor in some EVA activities.
This paper outlines an actuation system that uses gas filled bladders attached to the back of the EVA glove to provide the necessary force to bend the glove at the metacarpal joint, thus providing greater endurance during finger grasping tasks. A simple on-off controller senses hand movement through small pressure sensors between the finger and the glove restraint. The controller then fills or exhausts the bladders on the back of the glove to effectively move the neutral position of the glove as the hand inside moves.