Grasping trapezoidal objects
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When grasping rectangular or circular objects with a precision grip the digits close in on the object in opposite directions. In doing so the digits move perpendicular to the local surface orientation as they approach opposite sides of the object. This perpendicular approach is advantageous for accurately placing the digits. Trapezoidal objects have non-parallel surfaces so that moving the digits in opposite directions would make the digits approach the contact surfaces at an angle that is not 90. In this study we examined whether this happens, or whether subjects tend to approach trapezoidal objects’ surfaces perpendicularly. We used objects of different sizes and with different surface slants. Subjects tended to approach the object’s surfaces orthogonally, suggesting that they aim for an optimal precision of digit placement rather than simply closing their hand as it reaches the object.