EXPERIMENT RECORD N° 9395
Dexter0g
  1. 2013 • 58th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign
Life Sciences:
  • Human Physiology
A300 ZERO-G Airbus
J.L. Thonnard (1), P. Lefèvre (2), V. Théate (1), B. Delhaye (1), T. Giard (1)
(1)  
Université Catholique de Louvain-UCL
Institute of Neuroscience-COSY
Tour Pasteur, Avenue Mounier 53
B1.53.04
1200 Brussels
BELGIUM
Tel:  
+32(0)276453679348
e-mail:  
jean-louis.thonnard@uclouvain.be
vincent.theate@uclouvain.be
(2)  
ICTEAM / INMA
4, Avenue Georges Lemaitre
1348 Louvain-La-Neuve
BELGIUM
e-mail:  
Philippe.Lefevre@uclouvain.be

The 58th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign took place from 27 May to 7 June 2013 and was conducted from Mérignac-Bordeaux airport in France.

Up to now, many studies have focused on the control of Grip Force (GF) during precision grip. We know, for instance, that GF is modulated to minimize the safety margin between the normal forces exerted on an object and the force required to prevent slipping when grasp, lift and move this object. Several parameters taking part in the GF control have been investigated, for instance the dynamics of the prehension, the kinematics of the arm, the inertia of the arm, the coefficient of friction and even the impedance variation occurring before collision.

All these parameters seem to be taken into account to produce an adapted control of the grip and the movement in everyday life. However, when a change in our environment occurs (as change in gravity or viscosity field), we need to adopt new strategies to move and grip optimally. These changes have allowed us to better understand that the Central Nervous System (CNS) uses sensory feedbacks and predictive models to move and grip optimally in these new environments.

In this experiment, we would like to investigate how the CNS manages the sensory feedbacks for a static load condition while the field of gravity is altered. We will ask subjects to practice, on ground, in applying 3 different tangential forces in the vertical direction on a fixed object equipped with 6-axis forces sensor. Subjects will keep the arm extended horizontally. Then, they will have to reproduce the experiment in altered gravity without any visual feedback on their produced tangential force. The only way for them to maintain a constant tangential force will be to trust their sensory feedbacks, like the fingertip afferences or arm proprioception, to adapt adequately their shoulder torque.

We hope that the difference between the tangential force set point and the actual force recorded will show us how CNS manages its motor commands when the arm proprioception will be affected by change in gravity while the information coming from the finger skin afferents will be probably not.

RELATED RESEARCH

1st and 2nd Joint European Partial gravity Parabolic Flight campaign - Dexterous manipulation in microgravity 

55th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign - Dexterous manipulation in microgravity 

53rd ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign - Dexterous manipulation in microgravity

48th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign - Dexterous Manipulation in microgravity

47th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign - Dexterous Manipulation in microgravity 

The subjects will be asked to grip a manipulandum between their thumb and their index finger with their right arm extended. This manipulandum will be composed of two force sensors, one under each finger, and it will be fixed on a metallic structure in front of the subjects. During the experiment, subjects will be instructed to apply different levels of vertical force on the manipulandum. These forces will have been practiced on ground before to experiment aboard the plane.

Each subject will be equipped with 8 EMG sensors to record muscles activities of the wrist and the shoulder.

APPLICATIONS OF THE RESEARCH
The implications of the present work are fundamental and practical. From a fundamental point of view, we expect to enlarge our current knowledge on motor control and sensorimotor coordination. This knowledge will play a determinant role in practice for future design of prostheses for which sensory feedback is necessary to successfully control a movement.

[1]  
J.R. Flanagran, A.M. Wing, (1993), "Modulation of grip force with load force during point-to-point arm movements", Experimental Brain Research, 95, 1, pp. 131-143.
[2]  
A.S. Augurelle, O. White, M. Penta, J.L. Thonnard, (2002), "The effects of a change in gravity on the dynamics of prehension", Journal of Gravitational Physiology, 9, 1, pp. P51-3.
[3]  
A.S. Augurelle, O. White, M. Penta, J.L. Thonnard, (2003), "The effects of a change in gravity on the dynamics of prehension", Experimental Brain Research, 148, 4, pp. 533-540.
[4]  
E. Todorov, (2004), "Optimality principles in sensorimotor control", Nature Neuroscience, 7, 9, doi:10.1038/nn1309, pp. 907-915.
[5]  
O. White, J. McIntyre, A.S. Augurelle, J.L. Thonnard, (2005), "Do novel gravitational environments alter the grip-force/load-force coupling at the fingertips?", Experimental Brain Research, 163, 3, pp. 324-334.
[6]  
O. White, P. Lefèvre, J.L. Thonnard, (2005), "Eye-hand coordination in controlled collisions in altered gravity", Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 8, S1, pp. 281.
[7]  
J.L. Thonnard, A. Smith, A. Wing, J. McIntyre, P. Lefèvre, O. White, A.S. Augurelle, J.S. Langlais, A. Witney, G. Blohm, (2005), "Eye-Hand Coordination: Dexterous object manipulation in new gravity fields", ESA Publications SP-1281, pp. 148-163.
[8]  
T. Andre, O. White, P. Lefèvre, J.L. Thonnard, (2007), "The effect of grip force and skin moisture on friction during dextrous manipulation", Communication in poster for 17th NCM annual meeting.
[9]  
O. White, (2007), "The role of gravity in dexterous manipulation: a driving force rather than a perturbation", PhD Thesis, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 2007.
[10]  
O. White, M. Penta, J.L. Thonnard, (2009), "A new device to measure the three dimensional forces and torques in precision grip tasks", Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology, 33, 3, pp. 245-248.
[11]  
F. Crevecoeur, J.L. Thonnard, P. Lefèvre, (2010), "Sensorimotor Mapping for Anticipatory Grip Force Modulation", Journal of Neurophysiology, 104, 3, doi: 10.1152/jn.00114.2010, pp. 1401-1408.
[12]  
V. Pletser, J. Winter, F. Duclos, T. Bret-Dibat, U. Friedrich, J.F. Clervoy, T. Gharib, F. Gai, O. Minster, P. Sundblad, (2012), "The First Joint European Partial-G Parabolic Flight Campaign at Moon and Mars Gravity Levels for Science and Exploration", Microgravity Science and Technology, 24, 6, DOI: 10.1007/s12217-012-9304-y, pp. 383-395.
click on items to display

View of the hardware set-up and the experiment configuration in the airplane during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

View of the hardware set-up and the experiment configuration in the airplane during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

View of the hardware set-up and the experiment configuration in the airplane during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

The subject is exerting grip force during the execution of the experiment during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

Close-up of the force sensor. Photo taken during the during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

Close-up of the force sensor. Photo taken during the during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h
http://wsn.spaceflight.es
a.int/?eea=MTM5MTc2NTQxNA

Close-up of the force sensor. Photo taken during the during the 58th Parabolic Flight Campaign. Credits: ESA/A. Le Floc'h

Jean-Louis Thonnard explains the experiment during the 58th ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign in Bordeaux.
 
© 2019 European Space Agency