While the process of hand preshaping during grasping has been studied for over a decade, there is relatively little information regarding the organization of digit contact timing (DCT). This dearth of information may be due to the assumption that DCT while grasping exhibits few regularities or to the difficulty in obtaining information through traditional movement recording techniques. In this study, we employed a novel technique to determine the time of digit contacts with the target object at a high precision rate in normal healthy participants. Our results indicate that, under our task conditions, subjects tend to employ a radial to ulnar pattern of DCT which may be modulated by the shape of the target object. Moreover, a number of parameters, such as the total contact time, the frequency of first contacts by the thumb and index fingers and the number of simultaneous contacts, are affected by the relative complexity of the target object. Our data support the notion that a great deal of information about the object's physical features is obtained during the early moments of the grasp.
The organization of digit contact timing during grasping