Technical Reports (CIS)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

January 1991


University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-91-04.


Hands have for centuries been recognized as a fundamental tool for humans to gain an understanding of their environment and at the same time be able to manipulate it. In this presentation we will look at various studies made on the functionality and use of the human hand and examine the different approaches to analyzing and classifying human grasps and building a taxonomy of these grasps. We study the anatomy of the human hand, and examine experiments performed to understand the how gripping forces are applied when lifting objects, and the methods extraction of haptic information, by humans.

We discuss issues involved in the building of electro-mechanical manipulators and some of the mathematics used in analyzing the suitability of a design. We look at one of the earliest designs of a computer controlled articulated gripper, as well as two of the most prevalent designs in today's research world, the Stanford/JPL hand and the Utah/MIT had. Finally, we show why a more fundamental understanding of how human grasping works will help us design more useful manipulators.



Date Posted: 09 August 2007