Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Sergei Adamovich

Second Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Third Advisor

Mesut Sahin

Abstract

The focus of this study is to observe the changes in whole hand grasp strategy, in healthy subjects, over time in a series of isometric force control learning tasks. During a series of trials with real-time visual feedback of the five finger forces, subjects adapted their grasp strategy in order to reach the target in a time efficient manner. In early trials, it is very evident that subjects focus on controlling the force output of one finger at a time until they reach the goal. As the block of trials progresses, subjects alter their strategy to a more coordinated movement to reach the target faster as they learn the coordination task. Throughout the study, forces are measured using a custom designed force measurement device. Many stroke patients do not fully recover hand function after a stroke. It has previously been shown that stroke subjects have an increase in finger enslavement or an increase in unintended force production between adjacent fingers. Ideally, using a force measurement device and a grasp shaping task, as described here, could translate to a therapy for stroke subjects enabling a faster recovery and greater finger independence.

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