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Contributor
Date Range
2011 2018

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

The intact nervous system has an exquisite ability to modulate the activity of multiple muscles acting at one or more joints to produce an enormous range of actions. Seemingly simple tasks, such as reaching for an object or walking, in fact rely on very complex spatial and temporal patterns of muscle activations. Neurological disorders such as stroke and focal dystonia affect the ability to coordinate multi-joint movements. This article reviews the state of the art of research of muscle synergies in the intact and damaged nervous system, their implications for recovery and rehabilitation, and proposes avenues for research aimed at ...

Contributors
Santello, Marco, Lang, Catherine E., Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, et al.
Created Date
2015-01-06

Myoelectric artificial limbs can significantly advance the state of the art in prosthetics, since they can be used to control mechatronic devices through muscular activity in a way that mimics how the subjects used to activate their muscles before limb loss. However, surveys indicate that dissatisfaction with the functionality of terminal devices underlies the widespread abandonment of prostheses. We believe that one key factor to improve acceptability of prosthetic devices is to attain human likeness of prosthesis movements, a goal which is being pursued by research on social and human–robot interactions. Therefore, to reduce early abandonment of terminal devices, we ...

Contributors
Fani, Simone, Bianchi, Matteo, Jain, Sonal, et al.
Created Date
2016-10-17

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

Humans are able to modulate digit forces as a function of position despite changes in digit placement that might occur from trial to trial or when changing grip type for object manipulation. Although this phenomenon is likely to rely on sensing the position of the digits relative to each other and the object, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. To address this question, we asked subjects (n = 30) to match perceived vertical distance between the center of pressure (CoP) of the thumb and index finger pads (d[subscript y]) of the right hand (“reference” hand) using the same hand (“test” hand). ...

Contributors
Shibata, Daisuke, Kappers, Astrid M. L., Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2014-08-04

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

Background Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression neuropathy of the median nerve that results in sensorimotor deficits in the hand. Until recently, the effects of CTS on hand function have been studied using mostly two-digit grip tasks. The purpose of this study was to investigate the coordination of multi-digit forces as a function of object center of mass (CM) during whole-hand grasping. Methods Fourteen CTS patients and age- and gender-matched controls were instructed to grasp, lift, hold, and release a grip device with five digits for seven consecutive lifts while maintaining its vertical orientation. The object CM was changed ...

Contributors
Zhang, Wei, Johnston, Jamie A., Ross, Mark A., et al.
Created Date
2012-11-21

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

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

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

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