Sensing form - finger gaiting as key to tactile object exploration - a data glove analysis of a prototypical daily task.

Krammer, Werner; Missimer, John H; Habegger, Simon; Pastore-Wapp, Manuela; Wiest, Roland; Weder, Bruno (2020). Sensing form - finger gaiting as key to tactile object exploration - a data glove analysis of a prototypical daily task. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 17(1), p. 133. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12984-020-00755-6

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Motor hand skill and associated dexterity is important for meeting the challenges of daily activity and an important resource post-stroke. In this context, the present study investigated the finger movements of right-handed subjects during tactile manipulation of a cuboid, a prototypical task underlying tactile exploration. During one motor act, the thumb and fingers of one hand surround the cuboid in a continuous and regular manner. While the object is moved by the guiding thumb, the opposed supporting fingers are replaced once they reach their joint limits by free fingers, a mechanism termed finger gaiting.


For both hands of 22 subjects, we acquired the time series of consecutive manipulations of a cuboid at a frequency of 1 Hz, using a digital data glove consisting of 29 sensors. Using principle component analysis, we decomposed the short action into motor patterns related to successive manipulations of the cuboid. The components purport to represent changing grasp configurations involving the stabilizing fingers and guiding thumb. The temporal features of the components permits testing whether the distinct configurations occur at the frequency of 1 Hz, i.e. within the time window of 1 s, and, thus, taxonomic classification of the manipulation as finger gaiting.


The fraction of variance described by the principal components indicated that three components described the salient features of the single motor acts for each hand. Striking in the finger patterns was the prominent and varying roles of the MCP and PIP joints of the fingers, and the CMC joint of the thumb. An important aspect of the three components was their representation of distinct finger configurations within the same motor act. Principal component and graph theory analysis confirmed modular, functionally synchronous action of the involved joints. The computation of finger trajectories in one subject illustrated the workspace of the task, which differed for the right and left hands.


In this task one complex motor act of 1 s duration could be described by three elementary and hierarchically ordered grasp configurations occurring at the prescribed frequency of 1 Hz. Therefore, these configurations represent finger gaiting, described until now only in artificial systems, as the principal mechanism underlying this prototypical task.

TRIAL REGISTRATION, NCT02865642 , registered 12 August 2016.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Habegger, Simon, Pastore-Wapp, Manuela, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Weder, Bruno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Martin Zbinden

Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2020 10:57

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Finger gaiting Finger synchrony Graph analysis Object in-hand manipulation Precise handling Principal component analysis Time series




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