Postprint version. Published in Journal of Biomechanics, Volume 48, Issue 11, August 20, 2015, pages 2903-2910.
At the time of publication, author Javier de la Fuente was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.04.025.
Loss of hand function can have adverse effects on an individual's ability to maintain independence. The ability to perform daily activities, such as food preparation and medication delivery, is dependent on the hand's ability to grasp and manipulate objects. Therefore, the goal of this research was to demonstrate that three dimensional (3D) modeling of hand function can be used to improve the accessibility of handheld objects for individuals with reduced functionality through informed design. Individual models of hand functionality were created for 43 participants and group models were developed for groups of individuals without (Healthy) and with reduced functionality due to arthritis (RFA) of the hand. Cylindrical models representative of auto-injectors of varying diameters were analyzed in 3D space relative to hand function. The individual model mappings showed the cylinder diameter with the highest mapped functional values varied depending on the type of functional weighting chosen: kinematic redundancy of fingertip pad positional placement, fingertip pad orientation, or finger force directionality. The group mappings showed that for a cylinder to be grasped in a power grasp by at least 75% of the Healthy or RFA groups, a diameter of 40 mm was required. This research utilizes a new hand model to objectively compare design parameters across three different kinematic factors of hand function and across groups with different functional abilities. The ability to conduct these comparisons enables the creation of designs that are universal to all – including accommodation of individuals with limits in their functional abilities.