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Contributor
Date Range
2011 2018

The human hand has so many degrees of freedom that it may seem impossible to control. A potential solution to this problem is “synergy control” which combines dimensionality reduction with great flexibility. With applicability to a wide range of tasks, this has become a very popular concept. In this review, we describe the evolution of the modern concept using studies of kinematic and force synergies in human hand control, neurophysiology of cortical and spinal neurons, and electromyographic (EMG) activity of hand muscles. We go beyond the often purely descriptive usage of synergy by reviewing the organization of the underlying neuronal ...

Contributors
Santello, Marco, Baud-Bovy, Gabriel, Jorntell, Henrik, et al.
Created Date
2013-04-08

Theoretical perspectives on anticipatory planning of object manipulation have traditionally been informed by studies that have investigated kinematics (hand shaping and digit position) and kinetics (forces) in isolation. This poses limitations on our understanding of the integration of such domains, which have recently been shown to be strongly interdependent. Specifically, recent studies revealed strong covariation of digit position and load force during the loading phase of two-digit grasping. Here, we determined whether such digit force-position covariation is a general feature of grasping. We investigated the coordination of digit position and forces during five-digit whole-hand manipulation of an object with a ...

Contributors
Marneweck, Michelle, Lee-Miller, Trevor, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-15

Humans are able to intuitively exploit the shape of an object and environmental constraints to achieve stable grasps and perform dexterous manipulations. In doing that, a vast range of kinematic strategies can be observed. However, in this work we formulate the hypothesis that such ability can be described in terms of a synergistic behavior in the generation of hand postures, i.e., using a reduced set of commonly used kinematic patterns. This is in analogy with previous studies showing the presence of such behavior in different tasks, such as grasping. We investigated this hypothesis in experiments performed by six subjects, who ...

Contributors
Della Santina, Cosimo, Bianchi, Matteo, Averta, Giuseppe, et al.
Created Date
2017-08-29

Of particular interest to the neuroscience and robotics communities is the understanding of how two humans could physically collaborate to perform motor tasks such as holding a tool or moving it across locations. When two humans physically interact with each other, sensory consequences and motor outcomes are not entirely predictable as they also depend on the other agent’s actions. The sensory mechanisms involved in physical interactions are not well understood. The present study was designed (1) to quantify human–human physical interactions where one agent (“follower”) has to infer the intended or imagined—but not executed—direction of motion of another agent (“leader”) ...

Contributors
Mojtahedi, Keivan, Whitsell, Bryan, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, et al.
Created Date
2017-04-13

How the human brain controls hand movements to carry out different tasks is still debated. The concept of synergy has been proposed to indicate functional modules that may simplify the control of hand postures by simultaneously recruiting sets of muscles and joints. However, whether and to what extent synergic hand postures are encoded as such at a cortical level remains unknown. Here, we combined kinematic, electromyography, and brain activity measures obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging while subjects performed a variety of movements towards virtual objects. Hand postural information, encoded through kinematic synergies, were represented in cortical areas devoted to ...

Contributors
Leo, Andrea, Handjaras, Giacomo, Bianchi, Matteo, et al.
Created Date
2016-02-15

Introduction: Options currently available to individuals with upper limb loss range from prosthetic hands that can perform many movements, but require more cognitive effort to control, to simpler terminal devices with limited functional abilities. We attempted to address this issue by designing a myoelectric control system to modulate prosthetic hand posture and digit force distribution. Methods: We recorded surface electromyographic (EMG) signals from five forearm muscles in eight able-bodied subjects while they modulated hand posture and the flexion force distribution of individual fingers. We used a support vector machine (SVM) and a random forest regression (RFR) to map EMG signal ...

Contributors
Gailey, Alycia, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2017-02-01

Anticipatory force planning during grasping is based on visual cues about the object’s physical properties and sensorimotor memories of previous actions with grasped objects. Vision can be used to estimate object mass based on the object size to identify and recall sensorimotor memories of previously manipulated objects. It is not known whether subjects can use density cues to identify the object’s center of mass (CM) and create compensatory moments in an anticipatory fashion during initial object lifts to prevent tilt. We asked subjects (n = 8) to estimate CM location of visually symmetric objects of uniform densities (plastic or brass, ...

Contributors
Craje, Celine, Santello, Marco, Gordon, Andrew M., et al.
Created Date
2013-10-16

Tactile perception is typically considered the result of cortical interpretation of afferent signals from a network of mechanical sensors underneath the skin. Yet, tactile illusion studies suggest that tactile perception can be elicited without afferent signals from mechanoceptors. Therefore, the extent that tactile perception arises from isomorphic mapping of tactile afferents onto the somatosensory cortex remains controversial. We tested whether isomorphic mapping of tactile afferent fibers onto the cortex leads directly to tactile perception by examining whether it is independent from proprioceptive input by evaluating the impact of different hand postures on the perception of a tactile illusion across fingertips. ...

Contributors
Warren, Jay, Santello, Marco, Helms Tillery, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2011-03-25

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) impairs sensation of a subset of digits. Although the effects of CTS on manipulation performed with CTS-affected digits have been studied using precision grip tasks, the extent to which CTS affects multi-digit force coordination has only recently been studied. Whole-hand manipulation studies have shown that CTS patients retain the ability to modulate multi-digit forces to object mass, mass distribution, and texture. However, CTS results in sensorimotor deficits relative to healthy controls, including significantly larger grip force and lower ability to balance the torques generated by the digits. Here we investigated the effects of CTS on multi-digit ...

Contributors
Zhang, Wei, Johnston, Jamie A., Ross, Mark A., et al.
Created Date
2013-01-10

The delicate tuning of digit forces to object properties can be disrupted by a number of neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. One such condition is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), a compression neuropathy of the median nerve that causes sensory and motor deficits in a subset of digits in the hand. Whereas the effects of CTS on median nerve physiology are well understood, the extent to which it affects whole-hand manipulation remains to be addressed. CTS affects only the lateral three and a half digits, which raises the question of how the central nervous system integrates sensory feedback from affected and unaffected ...

Contributors
Zhang, Wei, Johnston, Jamie A., Ross, Mark A., et al.
Created Date
2011-11-16