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Kutz, Dieter F.; Wölfel, Alexander; Meindl, Tobias; Timmann, Dagmar; Kolb, Florian P. (August 2009): Spatio-Temporal Human Grip Force Analysis via Sensor Arrays. In: Sensors, Vol. 9, No. 8: pp. 6330-6345




This study describes a technique for measuring human grip forces exerted on a cylindrical object via a sensor array. Standardised resistor-based pressure sensor arrays for industrial and medical applications have been available for some time. We used a special 20 mm diameter grip rod that subjects could either move actively with their fingers in the horizontal direction or exert reactive forces against opposing forces generated in the rod by a linear motor. The sensor array film was attached to the rod by adhesive tape and covered approximately 45 cm(2) of the rod surface. The sensor density was 4/cm(2) with each sensor having a force resolution of 0.1 N. A scan across all sensors resulted in a corresponding frame containing force values at a frame repetition rate of 150/s. The force value of a given sensor was interpreted as a pixel value resulting in a false-colour image. Based on remote sensed image analysis an algorithm was developed to distinguish significant force-representing pixels from those affected by noise. This allowed tracking of the position of identified fingers in subsequent frames such that spatio-temporal grip force profiles for individual fingers could be derived. Moreover, the algorithm allowed simultaneous measurement of forces exerted without any constraints on the number of fingers or on the position of the fingers. The system is thus well suited for basic and clinical research in human physiology as well as for studies in psychophysics.