Prehension synergies during nonvertical grasping, II: Modeling and optimization

Todd C. Pataky, Mark L. Latash, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study examines various optimization criteria as potential sources of constraints that eliminate (or at least reduce the degree of) mechanical redundancy in prehension. A model of nonvertical grasping mimicking the experimental conditions of Pataky et al. (current issue) was developed and numerically optimized. Several cost functions compared well with experimental data including energylike functions, entropylike functions, and a "motor command" function. A tissue deformation function failed to predict finger forces. In the prehension literature, the "safety margin" (SM) measure has been used to describe grasp quality. We demonstrate here that the SM is an inappropriate measure for nonvertical grasps. We introduce a new measure, the "generalized safety margin" (GSM), which reduces to the SM for vertical and two-digit grasps. It was found that a close-to-constant GSM accounts for many of the finger force patterns that are observed when grasping an object oriented arbitrarily with respect to the gravity field. It was hypothesized that, when determining finger forces, the CNS assumes that a grasped object is more slippery than it actually is. An "operative friction coefficient" of approximately 30% of the actual coefficient accounted for the offset between experimental and optimized data. The data suggest that the CNS utilizes an optimization strategy when coordinating finger forces during grasping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)


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