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Raveh, E., Friedman, J., & Portnoy, S. (2018). Evaluation of the effects of adding vibrotactile feedback to myoelectric prosthesis users on performance and visual attention in a dual-task paradigm. Clin Rehabil, 99(11), 2263–2270.
Abstract: Objective: To evaluate the effects of adding vibrotactile feedback to myoelectric prosthesis users on the performance time and visual attention in a dual-task paradigm.
Design: A repeated-measures design with a counterbalanced order of two conditions.
Setting: Laboratory setting.
Subjects: Transradial amputees using a myoelectric prosthesis with normal or corrected eyesight (N=12, median age=65 ± 13 years). Exclusion criteria were orthopedic or neurologic problems.
Interventions: Subjects performed grasping tasks with their prosthesis, while controlling a virtual car on a road with their intact hand. The dual task was performed twice: with and without vibrotactile feedback.
Main measures: Performance time of each of the grasping tasks and gaze behavior, measured by the number of times the subjects shifted their gaze toward their hand, the relative time they applied their attention to the screen, and percentage of error in the secondary task.
Results: The mean performance time was significantly shorter (P=0.024) when using vibrotactile feedback (93.2 ± 9.6 seconds) compared with the performance time measured when vibrotactile feedback was not available (107.8 ± 20.3seconds). No significant differences were found between the two conditions in the number of times the gaze shifted from the screen to the hand, in the time the subjects applied their attention to the screen, and in the time the virtual car was off-road, as a percentage of the total game time
(51.4 ± 15.7 and 50.2 ± 19.5, respectively).
Conclusion: Adding vibrotactile feedback improved performance time during grasping in a dual-task paradigm. Prosthesis users may use vibrotactile feedback to perform better during daily tasks, when multiple cognitive demands are present.
Park, J., Pazin, N., Friedman, J., Zatsiorsky, V. M., & Latash, M. L. (2014). Mechanical properties of the human hand digits: Age-related differences. Clinical Biomechanics, 29(2), 129–137.
Mechanical properties of human digits may have significant implications for the hand function. We quantified several mechanical characteristics of individual digits in young and older adults.
Digit tip friction was measured at several normal force values using a method of induced relative motion between the digit tip and the object surface. A modified quick-release paradigm was used to estimate digit apparent stiffness, damping, and inertial parameters. The subjects grasped a vertical handle instrumented with force/moment sensors using a prismatic grasp with four digits; the handle was fixed to the table. Unexpectedly, one of the sensors yielded leading to a quick displacement of the corresponding digit. A second-order, linear model was used to fit the force/displacement data.
Friction of the digit pads was significantly lower in older adults. The apparent stiffness coefficient values were higher while the damping coefficients were lower in older adults leading to lower damping ratio. The damping ratio was above unity for most data in young adults and below unity for older adults. Quick release of a digit led to force changes in other digits of the hand, likely due to inertial hand properties. These phenomena of “mechanical enslaving” were smaller in older adults although no significant difference was found in the inertial parameter in the two groups.
The decreased friction and damping ratio present challenges for the control of everyday prehensile tasks. They may lead to excessive digit forces and low stability of the grasped object.
Dempsey-Jones, H., Wesselink, D. B., Friedman, J., & Makin, T. R. (2019). Organized Toe Maps in Extreme Foot Users. Cell Reports, 28(11), 2748–2756.e4.
Abstract: Although the fine-grained features of topographic maps in the somatosensory cortex can be shaped by everyday experience, it is unknown whether behavior can support the expression of somatotopic maps where they do not typically occur. Unlike the fingers, represented in all primates, individuated toe maps have only been found in non-human primates. Using 1-mm resolution fMRI, we identify organized toe maps in two individuals born without either upper limb who use their feet to substitute missing hand function and even support their profession as foot artists. We demonstrate that the ordering and structure of the artists’ toe representation mimics typical hand representation. We further reveal “hand-like” features of activity patterns, not only in the foot area but also similarly in the missing hand area. We suggest humans may have an innate capacity for forming additional topographic maps that can be expressed with appropriate experience.
Raveh, E., Friedman, J., & Portnoy, S. (2018). Visuomotor behaviors and performance in a dual-task paradigm with and without vibrotactile feedback when using a myoelectric controlled hand. Assistive Technology, 30, 274–280.
Raveh, E., Portnoy, S., & Friedman, J. (2018). Myoelectric Prosthesis Users Improve Performance Time and Accuracy Using Vibrotactile Feedback When Visual Feedback Is Disturbed. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 99(11), 2263–2270.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of adding vibrotactile feedback (VTF) in myoelectric prosthesis users during performance of a functional task when visual feedback is disturbed. DESIGN: A repeated-measures design with a counter-balanced order of 3 conditions. SETTING: Laboratory setting. PARTICIPANTS: Transradial amputees using a myoelectric prosthesis with normal or corrected eyesight (N=12, median age 65+/-13y). Exclusion criteria were orthopedic or neurologic problems. INTERVENTIONS: All participants performed the modified Box and Blocks Test, grasping and manipulating 16 blocks over a partition using their myoelectric prosthesis. This was performed 3 times: in full light, in a dark room without VTF, and in a dark room with VTF. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Performance time, that is, the time needed to transfer 1 block, and accuracy during performance, measured by number of empty grips, empty transitions with no block and block drops from the hand. RESULTS: Significant differences were found in all outcome measures when VTF was added, with improved performance time (4.2 vs 5.3s) and a reduced number of grasping errors (3.0 vs 6.5 empty grips, 1.5 vs 4 empty transitions, 2.0 vs 4.5 block drops). CONCLUSIONS: Adding VTF to myoelectric prosthesis users has positive effects on performance time and accuracy when visual feedback is disturbed.