Dynamic Lumped Element Response of the Human Fingerpad

[+] Author and Article Information
D. T. V. Pawluk, R. D. Howe

Harvard University, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

J Biomech Eng 121(2), 178-183 (Apr 01, 1999) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2835100 History: Received December 27, 1996; Revised October 20, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


The dynamic response of the fingerpad plays an important role in the tactile sensory response and precision manipulation, as well as in ergonomic design. This paper investigates the dynamic lumped element response of the human fingerpad in vivo to a compressive load. A flat probe indented the fingerpad at a constant velocity, then held a constant position. The resulting force (0–2 N) increased rapidly with indentation, then relaxed during the hold phase. A quasilinear viscoelastic model successfully explained the experimental data. The instantaneous elastic response increased exponentially with position, and the reduced relaxation function included three decaying exponentials (with time constants of approximately 4 ms, 70 ms, and 1.4 s) plus a constant. The model was confirmed with data from sinusoidal displacement trajectories.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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