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The innovative actuation concept presented in this paper allows the implementation of powerful, simple, compact, and light-weight tendon-based driving systems, using as actuators small-size dc motors characterized by high speed and low torque. Due to its properties, this actuation system is very well suited for implementation in highly integrated robotic devices. The basic working principle of this novel actuation system is introduced, and the constitutive equations of the system are given, together with their experimental validation. Driven by the necessity of controlling the actuation force in the robotic hand, the problem of tracking a desired force profile is tackled. With the aim of guaranteeing a high level of robustness against disturbances, a control algorithm based on a second-order sliding manifold has first been evaluated by means of simulations and then validated by experiments. The results obtained with this simple and compact actuation system demonstrate its suitability for use in robotic devices such as robotic hands.