We have begun to develop a technique for quantifying the independence of human individuated finger movements using a VPL DataGlove borrowed from the Computer Science Department. Most human subjects made measurable movements of non-instructed digits, which were smaller than those previously reported for the individuated finger movements of rhesus monkeys, but showed generally similar characteristic patterns. Consistent with common experience, thumb and index finger movements were highly independent, while movements of the middle, ring and little fingers were less so. Explicitly requesting that human subjects keep non-instructed digits still while moving the instructed digit failed to improve performance. We used the previously developed Individuation Index to quantify the degree to which non-instructed digits moved during each instructed movement, and the Stationarity Index to quantify the degree to which a digit remained stationary when it was a non-instructed digit. These indices confirm that human finger movements, though more highly individuated than those of Rhesus monkeys, are not completely independent. Although these initial results were obtained with the borrowed VPL DataGlove, this outmoded device has transducer failures frequent enough to make approximately 50% of any data collected ususeable. We therefore plan to purchase a Virtual Technologies CyberGlove to more completely and reliably transduce human finger movements.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Biotechnology Resource Grants (P41)
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