Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 29–46 | Cite as

Flexibility and Repeatability of Finger Movements During Typing: Analysis of Multiple Degrees of Freedom

  • John F. Soechting
  • Martha Flanders


The kinematics of the hand and fingers were studied during various keystrokes in typing. These movements were defined by 17 degrees of freedom of motion, and methods were developed to identify simplifying strategies inthe execution of the task. Most of the analysis was restrictedto the 11 degrees of freedom of the fingers, neglecting thumband wrist motion. Temporal characteristics of the motion weredefined by computing principal components, and it was found thatonly a few (two to four) principal components were needed tocharacterize motion of each of the degrees of freedom.Hierarchical relationships among patterns within and betweendifferent degrees of freedom were identified using clusteranalysis. There was a considerable amount of consistency eachtime a given keystroke was executed by a subject, and thisrepeatability may imply a reduction in the number of degrees offreedom independently controlled by the nervous system. However,there also appears to be considerable flexibility in thecoordination of the many joints of the hand when examined acrossdifferent keys and across different subjects.

finger movements kinematics degrees of freedom cluster analysis 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Soechting
    • 1
  • Martha Flanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis

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