Taxonomy based analysis of force exchanges during object grasping and manipulation

Abstract : The flexibility of the human hand in object manipulation is essential for daily life activities, but remains relatively little explored with quantitative methods. On the one hand, recent tax-onomies describe qualitatively the classes of hand postures for object grasping and manipulation. On the other hand, the quantitative analysis of hand function has been generally restricted to precision grip (with thumb and index opposition) during lifting tasks. The aim of the present study is to fill the gap between these two kinds of descriptions, by investigating quantitatively the forces exerted by the hand on an instrumented object in a set of representative manipulation tasks. The object was a parallelepiped object able to measure the force exerted on the six faces and its acceleration. The grasping force was estimated from the lateral force and the unloading force from the bottom force. The protocol included eleven tasks with complementary constraints inspired by recent taxonomies: four tasks corresponding to lifting and holding the object with different grasp configurations, and seven to manipulating the object (rotation around each of its axis and translation). The grasping and unloading forces and object rotations were measured during the five phases of the actions: unloading, lifting, holding or manipulation, preparation to deposit, and deposit. The results confirm the tight regulation between grasping and unloading forces during lifting, and extend this to the deposit phase. In addition, they provide a precise description of the regulation of force exchanges during various manipulation tasks spanning representative actions of daily life. The timing of manipulation showed both sequential and overlapping organization of the different sub-actions, and micro-errors could be detected. This phenomenological study confirms the feasibility of using an instrumented object to investigate complex manipulative behavior in humans. This protocol will be used in the future to investigate upper-limb dexterity in patients with sensory-motor impairments.
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PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (5), pp.e0178185. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0178185〉
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Sandra Martin-Brevet, Nathanael Jarrasse, Etienne Burdet, Agnès Roby-Brami. Taxonomy based analysis of force exchanges during object grasping and manipulation. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (5), pp.e0178185. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0178185〉. 〈hal-01534586〉

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