Dynamic lumped element response of the human fingerpad

J Biomech Eng. 1999 Apr;121(2):178-83. doi: 10.1115/1.2835100.


The dynamic response of the fingerpad plays an important role in the tactile sensory response and precision manipulation, as well as in ergonomic design. This paper investigates the dynamic lumped element response of the human fingerpad in vivo to a compressive load. A flat probe indented the fingerpad at a constant velocity, then held a constant position. The resulting force (0-2 N) increased rapidly with indentation then relaxed during the hold phase. A quasilinear viscoelastic model successfully explained the experimental data. The instantaneous elastic response increased exponentially with position, and the reduced relaxation function included three decaying exponentials (with time constants of approximately 4 ms, 70 ms, and 1.4 s) plus a constant. The model was confirmed with data from sinusoidal displacement trajectories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Elasticity
  • Ergonomics
  • Fingers / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plethysmography, Impedance
  • Pressure
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vibration
  • Viscosity