05/03/2012 Materials Science Medicine Physics
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032770 SemanticScholar ID: 7116565 MAG: 2064226842

Predicting the Effect of Surface Texture on the Qualitative Form of Prehension

Publication Summary

Reach-to-grasp movements change quantitatively in a lawful (i.e. predictable) manner with changes in object properties. We explored whether altering object texture would produce qualitative changes in the form of the precontact movement patterns. Twelve participants reached to lift objects from a tabletop. Nine objects were produced, each with one of three grip surface textures (high-friction, medium-friction and low-friction) and one of three widths (50 mm, 70 mm and 90 mm). Each object was placed at three distances (100 mm, 300 mm and 500 mm), representing a total of 27 trial conditions. We observed two distinct movement patterns across all trials—participants either: (i) brought their arm to a stop, secured the object and lifted it from the tabletop; or (ii) grasped the object ‘on-the-fly’, so it was secured in the hand while the arm was moving. A majority of grasps were on-the-fly when the texture was high-friction and none when the object was low-friction, with medium-friction producing an intermediate proportion. Previous research has shown that the probability of on-the-fly behaviour is a function of grasp surface accuracy constraints. A finger friction rig was used to calculate the coefficients of friction for the objects and these calculations showed that the area available for a stable grasp (the ‘functional grasp surface size’) increased with surface friction coefficient. Thus, knowledge of functional grasp surface size is required to predict the probability of observing a given qualitative form of grasping in human prehensile behaviour.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Mark Mon-Williams

Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

University of Leeds - Chair in Cognitive Psychology

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