The human fingertip and its viscoelastic fingertip pad mediate much of our mechanical interaction with the environment. In manipulation tasks like grasping and lifting, soft-tissue deformation and passive joint rotation of the fingertip may be an important component for fine motor control and dexterity. Johansson and Westling [1] have extensively studied fingertip forces and neural responses during grasp-and-lift tasks, but their work is mainly limited to the description of how force develops throughout the lift. Pawluk [2] and Serina et al. [4] have examined fingertip pad deformations under compressive loading only. Our goal is to develop a more complete model of fingertip response during grasp-and-lift, including changing pressure distributions, soft-tissue deformation, orientation of the fingertip, and their effects on manipulation. We hypothesize that during a typical grasp and lift task, the centroid of pressure of the fingertip moves upward due to fingertip pad deformation as well as passive rotation of the metacarpal and interphalangeal joints.

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