Application of SMA Actuators to Spacesuit Glove Mobility Conference Paper uri icon


  • A common problem with space suit systems is overly rigid gloves that resist astronaut finger motion and gripping. In this paper, the design of a mechanism is considered that exploits the small-scale nature of shape memory alloys for actuating glove fingers to assist hand gripping. The design problem is introduced by considering the objectives, constraints, and variables relevant to a spacesuit glove actuator design. Advantages and disadvantages of shape memory alloys for this application are presented. The selection of a specific shape memory alloy composition is considered, as well as specimen dimensions and connection configuration, based on ergonomic considerations. Mechanism actuation was then simulated using finite element analysis of a simulated glove-finger-actuator assembly. The results of this paper show that the designed shape memory alloy mechanism is feasible for assisting astronaut hand gripping.

name of conference

  • ASME 2012 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems

published proceedings

  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting

author list (cited authors)

  • Atkinson, G., Kirkpatrick, K., Hartl, D., & Valasek, J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Atkinson, Grant||Kirkpatrick, Kenton||Hartl, Darren||Valasek, John

publication date

  • September 2012