Human hand modelling: kinematics, dynamics, applications

Biol Cybern. 2012 Dec;106(11-12):741-55. doi: 10.1007/s00422-012-0532-4. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


An overview of mathematical modelling of the human hand is given. We consider hand models from a specific background: rather than studying hands for surgical or similar goals, we target at providing a set of tools with which human grasping and manipulation capabilities can be studied, and hand functionality can be described. We do this by investigating the human hand at various levels: (1) at the level of kinematics, focussing on the movement of the bones of the hand, not taking corresponding forces into account; (2) at the musculotendon structure, i.e. by looking at the part of the hand generating the forces and thus inducing the motion; and (3) at the combination of the two, resulting in hand dynamics as well as the underlying neurocontrol. Our purpose is to not only provide the reader with an overview of current human hand modelling approaches but also to fill the gaps with recent results and data, thus allowing for an encompassing picture.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hand / anatomy & histology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*