Identification of the Mechanical Impedance at the Human Finger Tip

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Z. Hajian, R. D. Howe

Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

J Biomech Eng 119(1), 109-114 (Feb 01, 1997) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2796052 History: Received March 18, 1995; Revised March 13, 1996; Online October 30, 2007


Rapid transients were applied to the outstretched human index finger tip, which resulted in motion primarily at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint in extension and in abduction. A second-order linear model was fit to approximately 20 milliseconds of the force and displacement data to determine the effective mechanical impedance at the finger tip. Ranges of mass, damping, and stiffness parameters were estimated over a range of mean finger tip force (2–20 N for extension, 2–8 N for abduction). Effective translational finger tip mass for each subject was relatively constant for force levels greater than 6 N for extension, and constant throughout the abduction trials. Stiffness increased linearly with muscle activation. The estimated damping ratio for extension trials was about 1.7 times the ratio for abduction.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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