Basic hand skills are prerequisites for performing activities of daily living independently. Various conditions and pathologies can reduce hand function and thus impair independence, including spinal cord injury. Assistive devices can support users to increase their hand function and independence.

A consortium from Twente has been working in recent years to develop a hand exoskeleton, called T-GRIP. To grasp and release objects, the T-GRIP system moves the user's thumb using a small actuator attached to the hand. This grip, called the lateral grip, is the most valuable grip for most paraplegics to recover. A recent feasibility study among paraplegic patients showed that the current T-GRIP prototype scored high on usability, acceptance and satisfaction.

The aim of the Thumbs up! project is the further development and scale-up to other target groups of the working prototype of the T-GRIP hand exoskeleton (TRL 6) into an affordable and market-ready product with all necessary documentation for MDR certification (TRL 8) with an appropriate revenue model. Compared to existing systems, T-GRIP distinguishes itself after further development as an affordable, simple, lightweight, user-friendly, hygienic and custom-made hand exoskeleton, which aims to support the manipulation of objects while preserving the sense of touch. To achieve this goal, end-users (patients) and other stakeholders (e.g. healthcare institution, care providers, patient organizations and suppliers) will be intensively involved in all phases of the project.

The main outputs:

  • Insight into requirements of relevant end users
  • Exploratory study of relevant target groups for scale-up
  • Development and testing of (social) business case
  • Further development of hardware and software from T-GRIP prototype (TRL6) to market-ready product (TRL8)
  • Clinical evaluation of T-GRIP in home setting


Lead partner:

Roessingh Research and Development

Project partners:

Hankamp Rehab, University of Twente, Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation


Funding: €485,648.80

Total budget: € 1,026,717

Timeline: 2023-2026



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