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Department of Physical Therapy
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

Fine Motor Control/Motion Analysis

Prehension or the act of reaching out to and grasping an object requires temporal and spatial coordination of the movement of the arm and the shaping of the hand for grasp so that when the hand reaches the object it is ready to close on the object. The two components of prehension, the reach and the grasp, are programmed separately yet in the execution phase, there is an interaction between the two components such that if one component is perturbed, adjustments will be made within the other component so that both the hand is ready to grasp when the target object is reached. Most reach to grasp studies are completed within the personal workspace directly in front of the person performing that task. My goal is to explore the temporal and spatial synchrony when reaching to grasp in the outer boundaries of the personal workspace.

Equipment available in the lab includes an 8-camera Peak Motus® system (Vicon, Centennial, CO  80112) and a pair of CyberGloves® (San Jose, CA 95131). The Peak Motus system using reflective markers applied points of the body to record the movement of the arm. Computer software creates three-dimension recreation of the movement.

The CyberGloves are the latest addition to the laboratory. The CyberGloves contain flexible resistors over each of the joints. As the resistors are distorted by the joint movement the resistance and hence the current flowing through the resistors changes. The computer software is able to reconstruct the hand movement based on the changes in the current. Prior to the acquisition of the CyberGloves the types of grasps, object shapes and object locations were limited by the need to have the hand visible in three cameras for good marker resolution. One of the first goals of the laboratory is to synchronize the two pieces of equipment.

Other areas of interest include the use of the Wii in rehabilitation and the effect of the LSVT BIG protocol on gait and functional activities in the person with Parkinson disease.

Director: Dr. Carolyn Mason
Location: Center for Human Performance, Room 147

Refereed Poster Presentation

Black EJ, Mason CM, Monroe AD, Diminnie CB. Impact of a cognitive task on static and dynamic balance measures in university students. Program 184.06.  2011 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, D. C.: Society for Neuroscience, 2011, Online

Funded Grant Activity

  • Principal Investigator
  • $219,106
  • Motion Analysis Laboratory
  • September 2003, San Angelo Health Foundation