Quantifying digit force vector coordination during precision pinchs

Tamara L. Marquardt, Zong Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A methodology was established to investigate the contact mechanics of the thumb and the index finger at the digit-object interface during precision pinch. Two force/torque transducers were incorporated into an apparatus designed to overcome the thickness of each transducer and provide a flexible pinch span for digit placement and force application. To demonstrate the utility of the device, five subjects completed a pinch task with the pulps of their thumb and index finger. Inter-digit force vector coordination was quantified by examining the (1) force vector component magnitudes, (2) resultant force vector magnitudes, (3) coordination angle: the angle formed by the resultant vectors of each digit, (4) direction angle: the angle formed by each vector and the coordinate axes, and (5) center of pressure locations. It was shown that the resultant force magnitude of the index finger exceeded that of the thumb by 0.8 ± 0.3 N and that the coordination angle between the digit resultant force vectors was 160.2 ± 4.6°. The experimental apparatus and analysis methods provide a valuable tool for the quantitative examination of biomechanics and motor control during dexterous manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1350047
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Force coordination
  • Index finger
  • Pinch
  • Thumb
  • Transducer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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