Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 31, Issue 7, pp 867–878

Analysis of Skin Deformation Profiles During Sinusoidal Vibration of Fingerpad

  • J. Z. Wu
  • R. G. Dong
  • A. W. Schopper
  • W. P. Smutz


Vibrotactile perception threshold measurement has been widely used to diagnose the severity of peripheral neuropathy associated with hand-arm vibration syndrome and sensory losses in stroke and diabetic patients. The vibration perception threshold is believed to be influenced by many factors, such as contact force and vibration frequency. The present study is intended to analyze, theoretically, the time-dependent deformation profile of skin surface, strain distributions within soft tissue, and response force of a fingertip when it is stimulated by a probe vibrating with a sinusoidal movement. A two-dimensional finite element model, which incorporates the essential anatomical structures of a finger: skin, subcutaneous tissue, bone, and nail, has been proposed to analyze the effects of vibration amplitude, frequency, and preindentation on the dynamic interaction between the fingerpad and vibrating probe. The simulation results suggest that the fraction of time over which the skin separates from the probe during vibration increases with increasing vibration frequency and amplitude, and decreases with increased preindentation of the probe. The preindentation of the probe has been found to significantly reduce the trend of skin/probe decoupling. The simulation results show reasonably consistent trends with the reported experimental data. © 2003 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC2003: 8719Rr, 8719Bb, 8710+e

Hyperelastic Poroelastic Finite element model Soft tissue mechanics Fingertip Vibrotatile tests 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Christensen, N. J.Vibratory perception and blood flow in the feet of diabetics. Acta. Med. Scand.185:553–559, 1969.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clemente, C. D. Anatomy: A Regional Atlas of the Human Body, 2nd ed. Baltimore: Urban and Achwarzengerg, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cohen, J. C., J. C. Makous, and S. J. Bolanowski. Under which conditions do the skin and probe decouple during sinusoidal vibrations?Exp. Brain Res.129:211–217, 1999.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fawcett, D. Text Book of Histology, 11th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1986.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goble, A. K., A. A. Collins, and R. W. Cholewiak. Vibrotactile threshold in young and old observers: the effects of spatial summation and the presence of a rigid surround. J. Acoust. Soc. Am.99:2256–2269, 1996.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Goodwin, A. W., K. T. John, and I. Darian-Smith. Skin profiles during sinusoidal vibration of the fingerpad. Exp. Brain Res.77:79–86, 1989.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gray, H. Anatomy of the Human Body, 29th ed. Philadelphia: Lea and Febider, 1973.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Harada, N., and M. J. Griffin. Factors influencing vibration sense thresholds used to assess occupational exposures to hand transmitted vibration. Br. J. Ind. Med.48:185–192, 1991.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Holmes, M. H., and V. C. Mow. Nonlinear characteristics of soft gels and hydrated connective tissues in ultrafiltration. J. Biomech.23:1145–1156, 1990.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    ISO/FDIS-13091–1. International standard: Mechanical vibration—Vibrotactile perception thresholds for the assessment of nerve dysfunction—Part 1: Methods of measurement at the fingertips. Technical report, The International Organization For Standardization, 2001.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kim, J. S., and S. Choi-Kwon. Discriminative sensory dysfunction after unilateral stroke. Stroke27:677–682, 1996.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lindsell, C., and M. J. Griffin. Thermal thresholds, vibrotactile thresholds and finger systolic blood pressures in dockyard workers exposed to hand-transmitted vibration. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health72:377–386, 1999.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Liu, W., L. A. Lipsitz, M. Montero-Odasso, J. Bean, D. C. Kerrigan, and J. J. Collins. Noiseenhanced vibrotactile sensitivity in older adults, patients with stroke, and patients with diabetic neuropathy. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil.83:171–176, 2002.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mow, V. C., S. C. Kuei, W. M. Lai, and C. G. Armstrong. Biphasic creep and stress relaxation of articular cartilage: Theory and experiment. ASME J. Biomech. Eng.102:73–84, 1980.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pan, L., L. Zan, and F. S. Foster. Ultrasonic and viscoelastic properties of skin under transverse mechanical stress. Ultrasound Med. Biol.24:995–1007, 1998.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Phillips, J., and K. Johnson. Tactile spatial resolution. iii: A continuum mechanics model of skin predicting mechanoreceptor responses to bars, edges, and gratings. J. Neurophysiol.46:1204–1225, 1981.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rubin, M. B., S. R. Bodner, and N. S. Binur. An elastic-viscoplastic model for excised facial tissues. J. Biomech. Eng.120:686–689, 1998.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Storakers, B.On material representation and constitutive branching in finite conpressible elasticity. J. Mech. Phys. Solids34:125–145, 1986.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tschoegl, N. W. The Phenomenological Theory of Linear Viscoelastic Behavior: An Introduction. New York: Springer, 1989.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Vallbo, A. B., and R. S. Johnson. Properties of cutaneous mechanoreceptors in the human hand related to touch sensation. Hum. Neurobiol.3:3–14, 1984.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wan, A. W.Biaxial tension test of human skin. Biomed. Mater. Eng.4:473–486, 1994.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wu, J. Z., R. G. Dong, S. Rakheja, and A. W. Schopper. Simulation of mechanical responses of fingertip to dynamic loading. Med. Eng. Phys.24:253–264, 2002.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wu, J. Z., and W. Herzog. Finite element simulation of location-and time-dependent mechanical behavior of chondrocytes in unconfined compression tests. Ann. Biomed. Eng.28:318–330, 2000.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Yamada, H. Strength of Biological Materials.Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1970.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhang, J. D., A. F. T. Mak, and L. D. Huang. A large deformation biomechanical model for pressure ulcers. ASME J. Biomech. Eng.119:406–408, 1997.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zheng, Y. P., and A. F. Mak. An ultrasound indentation system for biomechanical properties assessment of soft tissues. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng.43:912–918, 1996.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Z. Wu
    • 1
  • R. G. Dong
    • 1
  • A. W. Schopper
    • 1
  • W. P. Smutz
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthMorgantown

Personalised recommendations