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Adriana V. Savescu, Mark L. Latash and Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

This article proposes a technique to calculate the coefficient of friction for the fingertip– object interface. Twelve subjects (6 males and 6 females) participated in two experiments. During the first experiment (the imposed displacement method), a 3-D force sensor was moved horizontally while the subjects applied a specified normal force (4 N, 8 N, 12 N) on the surface of a sensor covered with different materials (sandpaper, cotton, rayon, polyester, and silk).The normal force and the tangential force (i.e., the force due to the sensor motion) were recorded. The coefficient of frictiond) was calculated as the ratio between the tangential force and the normal force. In the second experiment (the beginning slip method), a small instrumented object was gripped between the index finger and the thumb, held stationary in the air, and then allowed to drop. The weight (200 g, 500 g, and 1,000 g) and the surface (sandpaper, cotton, rayon, polyester, and silk) in contact with the digits varied across trials. The same sensor as in the first experiment was used to record the normal force (in a horizontal direction) and the tangential force (in the vertical direction). The slip force (i.e., the minimal normal force or grip force necessary to prevent slipping) was estimated as the force at the moment when the object just began to slip. The coefficient of friction was calculated as the ratio between the tangential force and the slip force. The results show that (1) the imposed displacement method is reliable; (2) except sandpaper, for all other materials the coefficient of friction did not depend on the normal force; (3) the skin–sandpaper coefficient of friction was the highest µd = 0.96 ± 0.09 (for 4-N normal force) and the skin–rayon rayon coefficient of friction was the smallest µd = 0.36 ± 0.10; (4) no significant difference between the coefficients of friction determined with the imposed displacement method and the beginning slip method was observed. We view the imposed displacement technique as having an advantage as compared with the beginning slip method, which is more cumbersome (e.g., dropped object should be protected from impacts) and prone to subjective errors owing to the uncertainty in determining the instance of the slip initiation (i.e., impeding sliding).

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Laurent Vigouroux, Mathieu Domalain and Eric Berton

The objective of this study was to identify the impact of modifying the object width on muscle and joint forces while gripping objects. The experimental protocol consisted to maintain horizontally five objects of different widths (3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, and 7.5 cm) with a thumb–index finger grip. Subjects were required to grasp spontaneously the object without any instruction regarding the grip force (GF) to apply. A biomechanical model of thumb–index finger pinch was developed to estimate muscle and joint forces. This model included electromyography, fingertip force, and kinematics data as inputs. The finger joint postures and the GF varied across the object widths. The estimated muscle forces also varied significantly according to the object width. Interestingly, we observed that the muscle force/GF ratios of major flexor muscles remain particularly stable with respect to the width whereas other muscle ratios differed largely. This may argue for a control strategy in which the actions of flexors were preserved in spite of change in joint postures. The estimated joint forces tended to increase with object width and increased in the distal–proximal sense. Overall, these results are of importance for the ergonomic design of handheld objects and for clinical applications.

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Richard J. Carey

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Robert J. Casmus and Kevin E. Burroughs

Edited by Tricia J. Hubbard

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Siobhán O’Connor, Róisín Leahy, Enda Whyte, Paul O’Donovan and Lauren Fortington

injury type n/a 3.3–7.5 n/a 20.6–28.6 n/a 7.4–12.9 n/a 56.2–65.3 n/a n/a n/a Note . n/a = not applicable. Upper limb injuries were most often to the hand (26.2%), fingers (26.2%), and thumb (16.8%). Fractures accounted for 40.2% of all upper limb injuries. Injuries of the trunk/back were primarily

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J. Paulo Vilas-Boas, Rui J. Ramos, Ricardo J. Fernandes, António J. Silva, Abel I. Rouboa, Leandro Machado, Tiago M. Barbosa and Daniel A. Marinho

The aim of this research was to numerically clarify the effect of finger spreading and thumb abduction on the hydrodynamic force generated by the hand and forearm during swimming. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of a realistic hand and forearm model obtained using a computer tomography scanner was conducted. A mean flow speed of 2 m·s−1 was used to analyze the possible combinations of three finger positions (grouped, partially spread, totally spread), three thumb positions (adducted, partially abducted, totally abducted), three angles of attack (a = 0°, 45°, 90°), and four sweepback angles (y = 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°) to yield a total of 108 simulated situations. The values of the drag coefficient were observed to increase with the angle of attack for all sweepback angles and finger and thumb positions. For y = 0° and 180°, the model with the thumb adducted and with the little finger spread presented higher drag coefficient values for a = 45° and 90°. Lift coefficient values were observed to be very low at a = 0° and 90° for all of the sweepback angles and finger and thumb positions studied, although very similar values are obtained at a = 45°. For y = 0° and 180°, the effect of finger and thumb positions appears to be much most distinct, indicating that having the thumb slightly abducted and the fingers grouped is a preferable position at y = 180°, whereas at y = 0°, having the thumb adducted and fingers slightly spread yielded higher lift values. Results show that finger and thumb positioning in swimming is a determinant of the propulsive force produced during swimming; indeed, this force is dependent on the direction of the flow over the hand and forearm, which changes across the arm’s stroke.

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Jeroen B.J. Smeets and Eli Brenner

Reaching out for an object is often described as consisting of two components that are based on different visual information. Information about the object's position and orientation guides the hand to the object, while information about the object's shape and size determines how the fingers move relative to the thumb to grasp it. We propose an alternative description, which consists of determining suitable positions on the object—on the basis of its shape, surface roughness, and so on—and then moving one's thumb and fingers more or less independently to these positions. We modeled this description using a minimum-jerk approach, whereby the finger and thumb approach their respective target positions approximately orthogonally to the surface. Our model predicts how experimental variables such as object size, movement speed, fragility, and required accuracy will influence the timing and size of the maximum aperture of the hand. An extensive review of experimental studies on grasping showed that the predicted influences correspond to human behavior.

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David A. Rosenbaum, Ruud J.G. Meulenbroek, Jonathan Vaughan and Catherine Elsinger

The hypothesis introduced by Smeets and Brenner concerning the perpendicular approach of the thumb and index finger during grasping has heuristic value, but it also has limitations. Among the limitations are the following: (a) the approach parameter is not directly testable and it is unclear how the values of deceleration at contact and movement time are set theoretically; (b) it is questionable that motion of the thumb and index finger are independent; (c) reliance on the minimum-jerk account ignores critiques of that account; and (d) the model begs the question of how the effectors proximal to the index finger and thumb are controlled. We briefly review an alternative model that can handle these challenges.

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Ignacio Perez-Pozuelo, Thomas White, Kate Westgate, Katrien Wijndaele, Nicholas J. Wareham and Soren Brage

untransformed data shown in Supplementary Figure 2 [available online]). Consequently, positive pitch indicates upwards position of the arm (hand above elbow), while positive roll indicates the lateral (radial, thumb) side of the arm being higher than the medial (ulnar, pinky) side of the arm. Figure  1

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Tarkeshwar Singh, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and Mark L. Latash

The effects of muscle fatigue on the stability of precision grasps are not well known. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of exercise-induced fatigue of a digit on prehension synergies in a static precision grasp. One group of participants performed the fatiguing exercise using the thumb (group-thumb) and the second group performed the exercise using the index finger (group-index). Grasp force and load-resisting force-stabilizing synergies were weaker during fatigue for group-thumb and showed no significant change for group-index. These results indicate that fatiguing the thumb compromises the stability of the precision grasp more than when the index finger is fatigued. Our results support the idea of hierarchical organization of prehension control. We proffer an explanation of our results based on two control constructs: a) Principle of superposition. This principle states that prehension can be viewed as a superposition of two independent processes controlling the slip and the tilt of the object respectively; and b) The referent configuration hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, the neural control of actions is associated with defining a set of referent values for task-related coordinates (given an external force field) defined as the referent configuration.