Distinct sensorimotor mechanisms underlie the control of grasp and manipulation forces for dexterous manipulation

Yen Hsun Wu, Marco Santello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dexterous manipulation relies on the ability to simultaneously attain two goals: controlling object position and orientation (pose) and preventing object slip. Although object manipulation has been extensively studied, most previous work has focused only on the control of digit forces for slip prevention. Therefore, it remains underexplored how humans coordinate digit forces to prevent object slip and control object pose simultaneously. We developed a dexterous manipulation task requiring subjects to grasp and lift a sensorized object using different grasp configurations while preventing it from tilting. We decomposed digit forces into manipulation and grasp forces for pose control and slip prevention, respectively. By separating biomechanically-obligatory from non-obligatory effects of grasp configuration, we found that subjects prioritized grasp stability over efficiency in grasp force control. Furthermore, grasp force was controlled in an anticipatory fashion at object lift onset, whereas manipulation force was modulated following acquisition of somatosensory and visual feedback of object’s dynamics throughout object lift. Mathematical modeling of feasible manipulation forces further confirmed that subjects could not accurately anticipate the required manipulation force prior to acquisition of sensory feedback. Our experimental approach and findings open new research avenues for investigating neural mechanisms underlying dexterous manipulation and biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12037
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct sensorimotor mechanisms underlie the control of grasp and manipulation forces for dexterous manipulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this