Disentangling sensory and motor deficits of fine hand function using an electronic grip gauge (EGG) to simulate transferring fragile objects
AbstractEvaluating hand dexterity is a critical aspect of assessing novel prosthetic technology and informing patient care. Current upper-limb dexterity assessments primarily target gross motor function and do not directly measure the ability of an individual to finely regulate their grip force. An increasingly popular test of fine motor function among researchers is a fragile-object test, in which participants are instructed to lift and transfer an object while minimizing their applied grip force. Here we present another instantiation of this fragile-object test, dubbed the electronic grip gauge (EGG). We use the EGG to quantify grip force and transfer rate for intact hands and myoelectric prostheses under three distinct conditions: 1) implicit grasping when transferring the object as fast as possible, 2) grasping when participants are instructed to minimize their grip force using endogenous tactile feedback and/or indirect sensory feedback, and 3) grasping when participants are instructed to minimize their grip force and have auditory feedback proportionate to their grip force. We show that a lack of tactile feedback is a significant reason for poor prosthetic control, as evidenced by significantly better prosthetic control with auditory feedback. We also show that even with supplemental auditory feedback, the performance of the prosthetic hand was still substantially worse than the performance of the intact hand. These results suggest that artificial sensory feedback can improve prosthetic control, but that improvements in mechanical design and/or real-time control are also needed to replicate the dexterity of intact human hands.
How to Cite
M. Buczak, B. Baum, C. Olsen, and J. George, “Disentangling sensory and motor deficits of fine hand function using an electronic grip gauge (EGG) to simulate transferring fragile objects”, MEC Symposium, Aug. 2022.