Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 219, Issue 2, pp 293–304 | Cite as

Control of aperture closure initiation during trunk-assisted reach-to-grasp movements

  • Miya K. Rand
  • Arend W. A. Van Gemmert
  • Abul B. M. I. Hossain
  • Yury P. Shimansky
  • George E. Stelmach
Research Article


The present study investigated how the involvement and direction of trunk movement during reach-to-grasp movements affect the coordination between the transport and grasping components. Seated young adults made prehensile movements in which the involvement of the trunk was varied; the trunk was not involved, moved forward (flexion), or moved backward (extension) in the sagittal plane during the reach to the object. Each of the trunk movements was combined with an extension or flexion motion of the arm during the reach. Regarding the relationship between the trunk and arm motion for arm transport, the onset of wrist motion relative to that of the trunk was delayed to a greater extent for the trunk extension than for the trunk flexion. The variability of the time period from the peak of wrist velocity to the peak of trunk velocity was also significantly greater for trunk extension compared to trunk flexion. These findings indicate that trunk flexion was better integrated into the control of wrist transport than trunk extension. In terms of the temporal relationship between wrist transport and grip aperture, the relationship between the time of peak wrist velocity and the time of peak grip aperture did not change or become less steady across conditions. Therefore, the stability of temporal coordination between wrist transport and grip aperture was maintained despite the variation of the pattern of intersegmental coordination between the arm and the trunk during arm transport. The transport–aperture coordination was further assessed in terms of the control law according to which the initiation of aperture closure during the reach occurs when the hand crosses a hand-to-target distance threshold for grasp initiation, which is a function of peak aperture, wrist velocity and acceleration, trunk velocity and acceleration, and trunk-to-target distance at the time of aperture closure initiation. The participants increased the hand-to-target distance threshold for grasp initiation in the conditions where the trunk was involved compared to the conditions where the trunk was not involved. An increase also occurred when the trunk was extended compared to when it was flexed. The increased distance threshold implies an increase in the hand-to-target distance-related safety margin for grasping when the trunk is involved, especially when it is extended. These results suggest that the CNS significantly utilizes the parameters of trunk movement together with movement parameters related to the arm and the hand for controlling grasp initiation.


Prehension Kinematics Coordination Control law Finger Trunk 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miya K. Rand
    • 1
  • Arend W. A. Van Gemmert
    • 2
  • Abul B. M. I. Hossain
    • 3
  • Yury P. Shimansky
    • 4
  • George E. Stelmach
    • 5
  1. 1.Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo)DortmundGermany
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Electrical Engineering, Ira A. Fulton School of EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.School of Biological and Health Systems EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  5. 5.Motor Control LaboratoryArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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