This study aims to investigate the effects of the degree of freedom (DOF) and weight of the hand exoskeleton (HE) on hand joint mobility function (ease of movement, movement range) in fine hand use activities. A three-digit passive HE prototype was built to fit each of the 12 partici-pants. Two DOF setups (three DOF, two DOF), two digits’ weight levels (70 g, 140 g), and barehand conditions were tested. A productivity task (performed with Standardized-Nine Hole Peg Test) and motion tasks, both performing the tip pinch and tripod pinch, were conducted to measure the task completion time and the range of motion (ROM) of the digit joints, respectively, using a motion capture system. The perceived ease rating was also measured. The results showed that DOF reduction and weight addition caused a significant task completion time increase and rating drop (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, the DOF reduction increased the ROM reduction of the proximal interphalangeal joints; however, the weight addition caused a correction of the ROM reduction of several joints (p < 0.05) at the tripod pinch. In conclusion, wearing an HE reduces hand joint mobility, especially in lower DOF. However, a certain weight addition may improve joint mobility in terms of the fingers’ movement range.
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